Fonio preparation mechanised

A machine has been invented to separate the husk from the West African fonio grain, a task which until now required such hard manual work that it nearly caused the demise of a dish often called “Africa’s tastiest cereal”.
The machine can process 5kg fonio in eight to ten minutes, removing more than 99% of the husks, compare A machine has been invented to separate the husk from the West African fonio grain, a task which until now required such hard manual work that it nearly caused the demise of a dish often called “Africa’s tastiest cereal”.
The machine can process 5kg fonio in eight to ten minutes, removing more than 99% of the husks, compared to the up to two hours of pounding and winnowing that is required to prepare 2kg fonio by hand.
The inventor of the machine, Sanoussi Diakite of Senegal, won a Rolex Award for Enterprise in 1995 for his device. Since then he has started manufacturing the machine in Dakar and is now seeking finance for large-scale production. Fonio is a hardy cereal that tolerates poor soils and little rain and can produce up to three crops a year.
Modern research has shown that the cereal is nutritious and healthy, containing high levels of fibre, iron and protein, but only low levels of fat. It used to be a common dish in West Africa, but has lost appeal because of the tedious job of preparing it by hand.
Diakite says the secret of the machine lies in its flexible, supple plastic plates that rotate the grains, rubbing off the husk without crushing the soft interior. A machine with an electric motor sells for about $1,190 and for about $1,740 with an engine run on petrol and oil.
Diakite: sanoussi1@caramail.com
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