FAO in South Sudan

Nilotic Shea butter now being sold in South Sudan shops.

Shea butter-produced by small-scale cooperative farmers in Rumbek now being sold by some South Sudanese shops.

Nilotic shea butter-producing small-scale cooperative farmers in Rumbek have registered a remarkable marketing breakthrough after their organically produced butter found its way onto shop shelves in South Sudan.

This was made possible by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and funding partners, who supported them with training and value addition technology.

According to Meet Patel, shop manager for JIT, a retail shop in the United Nations Compound (UN House) in Jabel and Tomping, one of the outlets displaying the shea butter on its shelves, the product is registering decent sales, considering that it is their first time to sell it. 

“The product arrived three days ago, and if the trend continues, we will soon be asking for more bottles of the product,” said Patel.

After realising the potential and opportunity presented by the shea butter sector to rural communities, with funding from Norway, FAO began working with women in the Wulu County of Rumbek, organizing them into cooperatives to collect and process the nut into organic pure butter.  

FAO supported these producers with training and processing equipment. The training also focused on operating the value addition technology and modern processing methods to ensure that they efficiently embark on the processing of the nut into butter.

Under the project, a total of 23 groups, comprising 490 individuals in Rumbek center and Wulu county, have benefitted from this programme. After receiving the support, beneficiaries were able to raise their production capacity significantly and re-invest their money into other ventures.

“Through participating in group collection and processing of Shea butter, we have been able to sell the processed product and with the proceeds, we bought 30 basins of groundnuts, during harvest time for SSP4000(US$ 3.61). We are planning to re-sell the groundnuts off-season at a price of SSP10 000(US$ 9.00) per basin in March 2024 anticipating to realise some good profit.” Said Rebecca Adhieu Ater.

Commenting on this development FAO South Sudan Country Representative Meshack Malo had this to say;

“FAO South Sudan is focused on value chain development, to ensure farmers add value to their products and have money in their pockets. It is the only way to attract the youth into agriculture and bring positive change to the communities we serve.” Said Malo

Known in Arabic as Lulu, the shea butter is produced from natural indigenous trees that are found in abundance in the Lakes State. Rich in vitamins A and E, the butter is used as a paste and good for skin nourishment as a lotion.

FAO initially received support from the USAID during the first phase of this project before it was taken over by Norway.


For more information, contact:

Chakanyuka Bosha,

Communications Specialist,

FAO South Sudan,

Email - [email protected],

Tel: +211 922 002 251