Fonio huller/whitener, Mali/Burkina Faso

Case study Identity Card

Long title: Fonio huller/whitener, Improving fonio postharvest technology
Impact assessment: ex post
Geographical coverage: Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Orodara, Nouna, Bomborokuy)
Mali (Bamako, Ségou, San, Bougouni, Koulikoro)
Research department:  Environments and Societies (ES) and Performance of Tropical Production and Processing Systems (Persyst)
Research unit: Innovation and Development in Agriculture and the Food Sector
Case study team: Thierry Ferré (CIRAD, Innovation), Jean François Cruz (CIRAD, Qualisud), Marie-Hélène Dabat (CIRAD, Art-dev), Matthieu Chtioui (Istom, intern)
Years covered: 1990-2015

Case study description

The innovation under study

Fonio (Digitaria exilis) is a cereal that produces small grains and is considered to be the oldest cultivated cereal in West Africa. It is resistant to drought and adapted to poor soils, and plays an important role in food security and preserving biodiversity. Postharvest and processing practices for fonio are traditional and manual. The work of hulling, winnowing, washing and removing sand - conducted for the most part by women - is exhausting, which has led to the disappearance of fonio production in certain areas.

To counter the decline of this cereal, it is therefore essential to resolve numerous postharvest problems, notably by mechanizing postharvest techniques and improving the quality of the products processed by women's groups or small businesses. With local research centers from Guinea (IRAG), Mali (IER) and Burkina Faso (IRSAT), CIRAD has designed equipment to hull and whiten fonio, called the GMBF huller. Currently, this equipment is mainly made in Bamako by local suppliers.

More information on Fonio on Cirad Website

More information on the project Aval Fonio


Stakeholders involved in the innovation process

Value chain stakeholders : 4 processors (UCODAL, Danaya céréales, Kémé Yayé Diakité, Etrafils), one manufacturer (IMAF)
Research stakeholders: IER (Mali), IRAG(Guinea), IRSAT(Burkina Faso), CIRAD(France)
Institutional stakeholders: Various projects, programs or NGOs have taken part in the broader dissemination of this innovation, particularly in Mali.

Stakeholders impacted by the innovation process

Value chain stakeholders:Processors, manufacturers, farmers

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