The Problem

As crises multiply and the devastating conflict in Ukraine drags on, its effects are being felt hard in West Africa, a region with more than 38 million people facing acute food insecurity. 

Fonio is a nutritious and climate-resilient west african staple crop that suffered a decline in production due to the difficulties of processing it by hand. A time saving machine was developed to process fonio 30x faster. The machine is sold to women-led processing units through partnerships with financial institutions to support sales. Awareness campaigns and training, especially engaging youth, are organized to promote the local grain.

Fonio
Fonio is a nutritious and climate-resilient crop local to West Africa.
The Solution

A time-saving machine was developed to process fonio 30x faster. The Fonio Machine was designed specifically for fonio – it can process five kg in eight minutes instead of four hours. 
The machine is sold to women-led processing units through partnerships with financial institutions to support sales. Awareness campaigns and training, especially engaging youth, are organized to promote the local grain. 

The Fonio Machine
Photo: Rolex Awards/Fatoumata Diébaté
Fonio Machine's Story

Sanoussi Diakité, the founder, was born in Kolda, Senegal, and fonio has its roots in his family history. His mother was a fonio producer. To feed fonio to her family, she had to work hard for hours. When Sanoussi became a mechanical engineer, his priority was to create a machine to relieve her suffering. The Fonio Machine is his invention! It’s designed to save time and effort for his mother and all West African female farmers.

300 Machines
Fonio Machines has sold 300 machines in 8 countries
Relationships
Fonio Machine has developed strong relationships with farmers' cooperatives and food processing copmanies
Awareness
Fonio Machine has worked to establish an international day for fonio and led multiple awareness campaigns across West Africa
The Way Forward

Fonio machine aims to produce and distribute 13 fonio husking machines, supporting fonio producers and training and empoweing women-led food processing units to purchase and use the machine. By increasing the production of fonio and its market availability, the technology will consequently reduce the market prices and make it more accessible to the community. Through effective marketing campaigns, Fonio Machine also aims to increase awareness of the benefits of fonio as a local, easy-to-grow, highly nutritious and climate resilient stable crop for both producers and consumers. 

During the WFP Innovation Accelerator Sprint Programme, Fonio Machine will focus on producing their machines and identifying farmers’ cooperatives who can form 13 women-led food processing units for the new machines. Once the machines are installed and in use, Fonio Machine will test that the fonio is safe for human consumption and distribute it using the WFP social safety net programmes. Finally, they seek to identify financial actors who can support the purchase of the machines for the processing units.

Children enjoying a large plate of fonio.
Children enjoy a plate of nutritious fonio.

Meet the team

Profile photo of Sanoussi Diakite
Sanoussi Diakite
Researcher, Project Lead
Profile photo of Sékhou Kiakite
Sékhou Kiakite
Mechanical Engineer, Product Lead
Profile photo of Mohamadou Lamine Sow
Mohamadou Lamine Sow
WFP Senegal Head of Nutrition
Damieta Mendes
WFP Senegal Head of School Based Programmes
William Diatta
WFP Senegal Head of Kolda Sub Office
Last updated: 05/01/2024