A Technological Innovation Systems Perspective On The Emerging Shea Butter Cluster In Uganda
Lating, Peter Okidi
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This paper uses a technological innovation systems perspective to analyse the emerging shea butter cluster in east and northern Uganda. The aim of the paper is to describe the structure of the innovation system for shea butter and its associated products. In so doing, it highlights the system‟s functionality and the underlying policy issues affecting growth of the shea butter cluster in the region. Data was collected through interviews with 20 key informants in the shea districts, three focussed group discussions with farmers‟ group leaders, processors, local government officials, private sector and development aid practitioners, and observations of shea butter processing in firms. Findings reveal that shea butter production and processing is very much a cottage industry, which is supported mainly by women groups. It could evolve rapidly into a dynamic business cluster if actors and institutions, which currently exist in isolation, start to interact more intensely It means that local governments, universities, private businesses and the community in the shea districts should be willing to interact and learn from each other. The findings point to the need for universities and research organizations in the area to work collaboratively with local government, businesses and the community to promote growth of the shea butter cluster.