Shea Tree Crop Management in West Africa

The shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa Gaertn. C. F., known as Karité in Francophone countries,is a multi-purpose tree species (deliberately grown and managed for more than one output) indigenous to the semi-arid and sub-humid savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. It occurs along a 500 km-wide zone ranging from Senegal to Uganda (Bonkoungou 1987, Hall et al 1996) across 21 countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic,Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Vitellaria is a monospecific genus with two subspecies: paradoxa and nilotica. The subspecies paradoxa occurs from Senegal to the Adamawa Highlands, along the border of Cameroon and Nigeria, while nilotica is found in The Central African Republic, Sudan (known locally as ‘Lulu’ tree) and Uganda, with small populations in Ethiopia and DR Congo (Allal et al 2011, Bonkoungou 1987, Hall et al 1996, Lovett and Haq 2000a). Both subspecies are found in areas with temperatures ranging from 24 to 40 oC and annual rainfall of between 500-1400mm.

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    Ky-Dembele C, Bayala J, Boffa J-M, Kalinganire A, Minang P A