SAP AG, a German software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations is targeting a network of 15,000 women in the Ghana based Shea butter industry, with the aim to create a reliable supply chain that generates security for both buyers and farmers of Shea butter.
The SAP developed a mobile app that scans and traces each sack of Shea huts and each box of Shea butter, providing the product traceability demanded by global export markets, while also sending price and market information straight to the buyers’ mobile phone.
Yet, at a time when organic certification is in process in Ghanaian farming for Shea butter, Fair Trade certification was achieved earlier this year. In addition to other multi-national corporate clients, StarShea that extracts and distributes Shea butter recently began a collaboration with one of the leading suppliers of fats and oils to the global food industry, IOI Loders Croklaan, in addition to relying on SAP technology.
In Ghana, with 62 metric tons of shea butter sold in its first year, StarShea Ltd. is already one of the top four exporters in the country, reports say. Moreover, revenues for women participating in StarShea transactions have grown by 59 to 82 percent, and a Stanford University School of Business study discovered that women who sell hand-made Shea butter to international buyers generate three to for times as much revenue compared to women who do not participate in social business activities like StarShea , noted Mary Mazzoni a writer on sustainability.
However, SAP hopes the enterprise will have an even greater impact, especially after profitability is achieved, it’s the company’s ultimate goal to see Shea farmers become co-owners of the business.
Headquartered in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, with regional offices around the world, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software. The company’s best known products are its enterprise resource planning application (SAP ERP), its enterprise data warehouse solution – SAP Business Warehouse, SAP BusinessObjects software, and most recently, Sybase mobile products and in-memory computing appliance SAP HANA
Thus far, reports say that SAP is already looking into how the mobile applications and supply chain management systems it developed in Ghana can be used to address similar challenges around the world. According to the UNEP, small holder farmers manage approximately half a billion farms worldwide and SAP said these software solutions could be used to address value chain inefficiencies regardless of crop.