Roasting the nuts is one of the important steps of the Shea butter production process. The 400 members of Ojoba Women’s Shea Cooperative in Ghana produce up to 100 tonnes of Shea Butter per year. Most of it is sold to Lush Ltd.
The concept of Lush is to produce fresh handmade cosmetic products, using raw materials which are bought at fair prizes. Thus contributing to social and environmental development within their trading partners’ regions.
Lush took the initiative for a trial project of roasting shea nuts with solar energy. Instead of turning a metal drum with the nuts for 40 minutes over an open fire solar box cookers are used. In February 2011 Simply Solar built a sample of these devices with a local carpenter - training him and this way enabling him to build more solar box cookers. He has already provided 2 more boxes to the cooperative.
First trials by the women showed that the box cooker reaches the required temperatures, can be left unattended and the rosted nuts provide a good yield of shea butter.
Members of the cooperative are now involved in a longer testing period to see if the want to start producing more "solar".