ECHOcommunity Updates

EDN Issue 141 - Now Available 2018-10-17

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Shea Nut: The Butter Tree

By: Gene Fifer


The arid region directly south of the Sahara Desert (the Sahel), which stretches from Senegal to Ethiopia, has limited sources of fats and oils. Dairy products from cows and sheep are scarce and traditional oilseed crops are few. This is problematic for human health since fats and oils contain lipids essential for vitamin absorption and are a high-calorie energy source.  

The shea nut tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) is a widely distributed and traditional source of vegetable fat in the Sahel for the Bambara, Dyula, Fulani, Hausa, and Wolof peoples. Some of its common names suggest its dietary importance: bambouk butter tree, galam butter tree, and arbre à beurre. Other common names in many different languages include karité, cárei, carité, lulu, sirreh, se, berekunan, tamba, taanga, and kareje. Fruity pulp and butter from shea nut trees are important food sources during the ‘hunger months’ of the early rainy season, before annual crops are harvested. However, even though the shea nut tree is widespread and traditionally used, it is underutilized because of the high amounts of labor, fuel, and water that are required to process it. The grueling and resource-intensive butter-making process can be streamlined by modern, low-tech methods that could expand its use as a hedge against food insecurity. 

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Introduction to Tropical Agricultural Development
Mon, 7 January 2019 » Fri, 11 January 2019

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Those interested in preparing for short to long-term involvement in international agriculture development are encouraged to participate in this five-day course.  Topics and discussions will be centered on improved food security and agricultural livelihoods for small-scale farmers in developing countries.  Participants will be introduced to the complexities related to poverty and community development.  They will also be introduced to principles and practices that contribute toward maintaining...

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Invitation to ECHO East Africa  Symposium 12th - 14th  February 2019 Greetings! You are cordially invited to join us for the ECHO East Africa Symposium 2019. We hope that you will make time to gather with us at this very important and effective meeting. It will be a valuable time of learning, information sharing and networking for those working and serving in the East Africa Region Highlights The ECHO Symposium will provide a network and training opportunity for those involved in ...

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