Fonio returns to Senegal
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CTA. 1999. Fonio returns to Senegal. Spore 82. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48509
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore82.pdf
Senegal, like many other countries in Africa, has a high import bill for much of its food stuffs, with national production of cereals way below local demand. Relief may be hand in the form of fonio (Digitaria exilis), a graminate introduced in the...
Senegal, like many other countries in Africa, has a high import bill for much of its food stuffs, with national production of cereals way below local demand. Relief may be hand in the form of fonio (Digitaria exilis), a graminate introduced in the 1950s. It never really sold well outside its area of production, largely because of processing problems. Now it could be making a comeback on the national market, occupying an important place in the country's agricultural development and food security. Work is needed to stress its positive aspects and to make it promotable, by dealing with the memories of when it was marginalised a few decades ago. Some recent studies by FAO, ENDA-GRAF, GRET and others have listed the cereal's properties. Compared with other products such as white rice or maize, fonio has much to say for itself. It attracts few parasites, and can grow in many soils. Modern medicine appreciates its qualities in treating illnesses such as diabetes, and it is rich in fibres, proteins, iron and calcium. Just one little drawback: its production mainly in the regions of Tambacounda and Kolda (north of the Gambian border) is irregular because it is limited to certain ethnic groups. There is no marketing organisation, it is hard to harvest and process, and there is a lack of awareness of its value as a foodstuff. These and other weaknesses are being studied in trials, being conducted in Kolda to intensify and improve the crop. The trials aim at reaching production levels of between 1.5 and 2 t per hectare. A huller machine invented by Samoussi Diakité is part of the effort to increase output. ENDA/GRAF BP 13065, Dakar, Senegal Fax: + 221 827 3215 Email: email@example.com