Social differentiation and household dynamics associated with early season shea nut collection and trading in Burkina Faso

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Originally a domestic product used by West African rural population, shea nut has become an international commodity exported all over the world. However, local periodic markets remain a central site of exchange and nut trading for many women shea nut collectors in Burkina Faso. Using survey data from Burkina Faso, this paper explores the ways in which shea nut collectors navigate shea nut trading. Many collectors engage in early nut trading during the farming season to cover their household subsistence needs, despite the lower shea nut price at that time of the year. The results show that this early market consists mostly of better off shea nut collectors buying nuts from worse off collectors, as the lead firms and wholesalers tend to enter the market later in the season. While the exchanged volumes remain small, this highlights social differentiation among women shea nut collectors, as the better-off collectors are able to invest their shea income in other sources of income, while the other collectors rely on shea for their reproduction needs. Furthermore, this social differentiation is also reflected in different household dynamics and bargaining strategies between spouses, as better-off collectors tend to collaborate to a larger extent with their partners than the other collectors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalForum for Development Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

    Research areas

  • bargaining, Burkina Faso, commodity, early trading, gender dynamics, shea (Vitellaria paradoxa), social differentiation

ID: 382758858