It’s an ad for L’Occitane (expensive skin care product makers) that is thinly disguised as a piece of journalism.
Too bad it's so silly.
Reading the caption would lead anyone to think that the woman in the picture must be happily watering her lucrative crop of shea-plants. But a quick look reveals that she is tending her cabbages.
Not much like a cabbage, is it?
Why they depicted this lady out in her garden, I have not clue.
And the caption is even worse in French, as it says that the gathering of shea nuts is what makes money for these women. Ad the accompanying article (not reproduced here- no room) makes that point again.
Here's a few things about shea trees, nuts and butter:
When the nuts are ripe, they fall to the ground. So, gathering them is really not labour intensive. What IS very intensive is the amount of labour required to make butter out of the raw nuts. This labour is done exclusively by women.
It involves taking off the pulp, breaking the inner shell, roasting the nuts, then grinding and mixing the paste by hand. It is lots of work, and like many things done by women here, it doesn’t pay that much.
But the while article talks a lot about the “cultivation of shea butter nuts”, there's not one word about the labor actually involved. It is invisible.
Meanwhile, here in Burkina, more and more women are forming cooperatives for shea butter production and sales. Some of the bigger groups are even able to buy simple machines that make the work less backbreaking. So, I have been heartened by the increased use of shea butter in various beauty products. And I guess it’s nice to see