Nut collectors in Burkina Faso report increased incomes using DBMS

Burkina Faso Shea nut collectors, majority of whom are women, who turned to using database management systems (DBMS) in June are beginning to report increased incomes.

The system helps them manage, record, retrieve, and track shea nut sales, reveals HumanIPO.

One such federation testifying of the efficiency of the digital records system is the Southwestern Burkina Faso based Fadefso, Federation of Women’s Development and Emancipation Associations. The federation has over 20,000 members with 10,000 as Shea nut collectors and began a pilot use of the system in June.

Clementine Hien, the treasurer of Fadefso, said the system has reduced accountability problems at the section levels than when they were still using paper records.

According to Dr. Olivier Nyirubugara, IICD Country Manager, Burkina Faso, IICD and ICCO, teamed up with other partners to form the Connect for Change Consortium.

They installed computers and inventory management software in Dano, about 340 km southwest of the country’s capital Ouagadougou.

Nyirubugara told HumanIPO, the digital system has a database of members with all their transactions listed. The simple, user-friendly interface is accessible to the factory management and the women farmers.

All the women associations gather their nuts in Dano before they send them to the factory. The system helps them keep track of their collections and incomes, he said.

Nyirubugara says they are working on the warehouse registration system. A big percentage of the data have now been computerised. He expects the warehouse database to be live in September, after what they are seeing at the village factory level.

The project targets about 10,000 women in southern Burkina Faso, he said, a region rich in shea nuts, whose collection is exclusively reserved for women.

The women ferry their nuts to a French factory established in Dano that has exclusive rights to buy nuts from the women’s associations in the region.

Initially, the factory required the women to supply all their nuts to the factory but the paper-based records were not helping as some could be lost, therefore losing transparency, clarity and a record of all operations.

According to Nyirubugara, the factory had to justify each cent paid and even identifying people by name as recorded was a problem as several people share names but the system will automatically assign unique numbers and attach a picture to each operation.
This brings the risk of error almost down to zero.

Shea nuts are a major ingredient for Shea Butter and are a leading income-generating activity for women in Southwestern Burkina Faso.

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