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Energy efficiency and waste reuse: A solution for sustainability in poor West African countries? Case study of the shea butter supply chain in Burkina Faso

Noumi E.S., Dabat M.H., Blin J.. 2013. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 5 (5) : 16 p..

DOI: 10.1063/1.4824432

In West African countries, the objective of producer insertion in competitive markets is often associated with the need to modernize and mechanize production processes, i.e., replace labour by machines. This excludes traditional producers who can barely comply with the economic criteria but who must remain competitive to generate higher incomes. The challenge is to improve the efficiency of traditional methods in supply chains rather than imposing modern technologies that producers hardly adopt. Moreover, West African populations suffer from not having cheap and available energy sources. They, therefore, have to be imaginative for more efficient energy use in order to improve the productivity and quality of their products and support sustainable rural development and incomes. Building on the case study of the shea butter supply chain in Burkina Faso, this article proposes an original approach consisting of improved energy use for a more competitive and sustainable activity. The traditional butter production process consumes a great deal of energy from firewood and generates a lot of organic waste that could be used as an energy source. We examined the feasibility of using alternative energy techniques that could be taken on board as they are simple and designed from local resources, whilst using by-products from the shea butter production chain as biofuels to partially replace firewood. We showed that using alternative energy techniques, taken one by one or combined, can lead to lower energy use and thereby increase women's incomes, whilst helping to conserve forests.

Mots-clés : burkina faso; afrique occidentale; filière

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