Fonio is an African heritage grain — or else ancient grain — considered the continent’s oldest refined cereal.
Native to West Africa, it’s a staple most usually enjoyed in the mountainous areas of countries such as Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, and Nigeria. Other names for fonio embrace acha, iburura, and hungry rice.
In some parts of Togo, fonio is utilized to prevent blood clotting after childbirth and excite breastfeeding people.
As a staple food, it plays an imperative role in ensuring food security, particularly during the post-harvest period when food is insufficient. It can be harvested within six to eight weeks and stores well without the hazard of pest infestation.
Fonio grows well in drought conditions and poor soils without the requirement for fertilizers or other implements. If you are looking for where to buy Fonio from, there is no better place than Juka’s Organic.
A neglected and underutilized crop species
Although its rich cultural heritage as well as nutrient profile, fonio is considered an abandoned and underutilized crop species (NUCS)
Sometimes called “lost crops,” “minor crops,” or else “orphan crops,” NUCSs haven’t been carefully researched, are utilized poorly, and mostly grown by smallholder farms.
Yet, this rush is varying. Today, fonio is listed as the main crop for West Africa. Due to its dietary and environmental properties and its potential to expand one’s diet, it can be found in forte food aisles and stores across the globe.
Furthermore, fonio has become a significant source of income for smallholder farmers in West Africa.
Fonio is an ethnically unique grain in numerous West African countries, as it’s frequently used in various ceremonies. Although it’s tremendously cultivatable, it has traditionally been poorly utilized and understudied.
Are there different types of fonio?
A member of the millet family, fonio is divided into two major types:
Digitaria iburua - This white grain has black or brown spikelets and grows typically in parts of Nigeria, Togo, and Benin.
Digitaria exilis - This white grain grows from Senegal to Chad, as well as in central Nigeria. It’s the most regularly eaten of the two varieties and more voluntarily accessible outside Africa.
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