REVALORIZATION AND PROMOTION OF PRE-COOKED FONIO: THE EXPERIENCE OF THE G.I.E. KOBA CLUB 1

Programme CIDEL, Min de la Gouvernance Territoriale du Développement et de l'Aménagement du Térritoire

Abstract


Fonio is a rustic grain, prepared traditionally for special occasions. It usually grows on  marginal lands (without water, pesticides or fertilizers) and is much more resistant than other cereals. Fonio is also rich in many nutritional elements. For this reason, the « groupement d’interesse economique  Koba Club 1 », a cooperative of 25 women in the Region of Kédougou in the southeast of Senegal,  has been engaged in the valorization and promotion of pre-cooked fonio for the past 25 years.

With support from a variety of partners, the GIE today can be considered a micro-enterprise that absorbs the fonio produced by the rural populations of the area, having the instruments and techniques necessary for their commercial activity (machines, rooms, means of transportation, commercial network). In fact, this activity is so well consolidated that the product is distributed beyond the region, that is, in surrounding regions and international fairs. This has allowed the women members of the GIE to prosper economically and socially, and to leave their individual farming labour in favour of a group commercial activity which is much more economically productive.

The activity has had an impact on the entire community because the fonio is also used to produce an enriched flour used to combat infant malnutrition. Moreover, beyond the twenty-five direct members of the GIE, the activity provides an additional 26 jobs for other members of the community, thanks to the significant income mobilized by the GIE (3 million Senegalese francs/month).

This practice, in conclusion, contributes to resolving problems of malnutrition and unemployment, to improved living conditions and the promotion of women’s leadership.


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