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University for Development Studie UDS (Ghana) 2016

EXAMINING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF MATERIAL FLOWS IN SHEA PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN NORTHERN GHANA

Jasaw, G. S.

Titre : EXAMINING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF MATERIAL FLOWS IN SHEA PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN NORTHERN GHANA

Auteur : Jasaw, G. S.

Université de soutenance : University for Development Studie UDS (Ghana)

Grade : PH.D. SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE 2016

Résumé
Utilization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been promoted across the world as an opportunity to both enhance local livelihoods and contribute to environmental sustainability though the inherent conservation practices associated with the focus on non-timber aspects. Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) is a popular non-timber forest product (NTFP) that is indigenous to ecosystems in semi¬arid regions of Africa whose demand, as a vegetable oil, serves as an ingredient in cosmetic formulation has been increasing on the world market. In Ghana, current methods and equipment for processing traditional shea kernel into butter imposes a dilemma of excessive harvesting of fuelwood for heating, the use of large quantities of water and manual execution of the processing activities. Thus, the nature of input requirement and production process presents implications for conflict over natural resource supply capacity and for production sustainability as material consumption increases for both urban and rural processors. In line with life cycle thinking, material flow analysis (MFA) was applied to understand material stock (shea raw material and fuelwood input resource) and flow analysis of inventory data generated from shea processing experiments across four rural locations and two urban towns in northern Ghana. The level of input resource consumption (fuelwood, water and labor) was quantified per unit shea kernel and/or shea butter output across locations. The environmental effects of the biomass consumption on shea were also recorded for each of the study sites. The analysis considered ecosystem service trade-offs between fuelwood consumption and carbon debt, Greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation as well as ecosystem functions of climate regulation, habitat loss and other ecosystem functions. In order to propose sustainable material use in shea production regimes for urban and rural women, another experiment on processing practices, use of fuelwood saving cook stove and fuel switching options were evaluated to assess optimal fuelwood use levels and utilization of shea waste/residue. The bio-physical aspects of the results show that the quantity of water used in urban processing sites was higher than that used in rural sites. On the other hand, fuel wood use and labor expended were found to be higher in rural sites per unit processing cycle. The nature of the processing equipment, accessibility to input resources, and target market for shea butter were key determinants of the varying shea raw material utilization and input resource consumption quantities. It was also found that the fuelwood annual consumption (fpm) was greater that its regeneration (f 1) in the rural areas with a potential of declining to zero in the future an permanently changing the ecosystem type and structure. The results are unique and significant because theoretically, comparisons between rural and urban shea production methods have not been conducted in this region. Methodologically, MFA processes of on-site plot-based fuelwood species inventory, identification of land use types, field measurements for tree biomass estimation, measurement of fuel consumption during shea processing, and stakeholder interviews were conducted. The results further indicate that the current method of shea butter production in Northern Ghana is unsustainable based on the current high annual input consumption rates for the processing technologies and slow regrowth rates of available fuelwood species. This study has closely examined the socio-economic as of practices and support systems including technology transfer between urban and rural areas along pillars of reduced material consumption, practices to improve and sustain supply capacity of natural capital resources and improved income allocation to livelihood obligations. This the dissertation presents guidelines to achieve sustainability of the shea material stock and flows in urban and rural areas.

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