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Projects and activities | 18 Jun 2019

Aval Fonio - Improvement of post-harvest and enhancement of fonio in Africa

Brief me

A long neglected small-grain cereal, fonio plays an important role in the food security of rural families in a region of West Africa stretching from Senegal to Lake Tchad. Traditional practices however, both during and after harvesting can be exhausting for farmers and their families. The rediscovery of fonio by the urban consumer for its taste and nutritional qualities demands improvements to harvest and post-harvest techniques.

In collaboration with growers and small businesses, researchers from Burkina Faso, France, Guinea, Mali and Senegal in the Aval Fonio project have designed and tested new machinery and new processes, making advances to the mechanisation of the threshing, winnowing, hulling, washing, degritting and drying stages of fonio post-harvest processing. This important work continued the efforts of the CFC project ‘Fonio’ and EU FP6 project ‘INCO Fonio’ and producers working with the project have reported increased production.

As well as advancing mechanisation, project partners made important strides in linking the actors in the fonio value chain – the growers, the processors and the machinery manufacturers in particular - to assure that the efforts of projects like Aval Fonio feed into the local technological innovation system to be adopted and scaled up by the business community for the benefit of farmers and consumers alike.