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Fonio: small but very nice

  1. You may know millet and teff. But there is also fonio, a tiny African grain with great nutritional value. Fonio is also called 'the new quinoa'. Is it that healthy?

  1. Fonio consists of tiny round grains. The plant is a very fast grower: the grain can be harvested within 6 to 8 weeks after sowing. Moreover, this crop does well on relatively poor soil, can withstand drought and is very suitable for a tropical warm climate. No wonder it was a popular crop in Africa.

Undervalued grain

  1. Was? Yes, many Africans no longer appreciate their own fonio. They turn their nose up to this local product and prefer imported products from the west, such as pasta and wheat flour. Soon the fonio will be mainly produced for the rich foodies in the west, who are always looking for variations on the uber hip quinoa, farro or spelled. The opposite world! Moreover, the price will then rise, so that the grain will not even be accessible to the African consumer. Something similar has happened with quinoa, in South America.

Is fonio healthy?

  1. Just like millet and teff, fonio has a small grain. You could say a tiny grain. Separating the chaff is therefore quite a job, special peeling machines have been developed to do this job. In appearance, it resembles couscous or quinoa. Some trend watchers say fonio has what it takes to knock the super-popular quinoa off the superfood throne. The taste of fonio is nice and nutty and the nutritional value is really worth it. It contains all essential amino acids, is gluten-free and rich in fiber. Fonio contains a lot of calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. So a top grain. A

How do you eat it?

  1. Fonio is mainly available as whole grain. Due to the small grain, the cooking time is only 5 to 10 minutes. Then use it as you use couscous or quinoa in the kitchen. You can also grind fonio (yourself) and turn it into flour, for example for bread. Since the grain does not contain gluten, that bread will not rise properly. That's why they bake flat breads with it in Africa.

Is fonio sustainable?

  1. Fonio is undemanding: it continues to grow stiff, even during drought and when the soil is not so fertile. According to experts, this makes fonio a perfect product for developing countries in Africa. It is usually grown organically. In the Netherlands fonio is marketed by a fair trade brand. The disadvantage is of course the transport, which makes fonio a less sustainable choice than, for example, organic spelled from Dutch soil. A Photo from splendidtable.org.

  2. Fonio is undemanding: it continues to grow stiff, even during drought and when the soil is not so fertile. According to experts, this makes fonio a perfect product for developing countries in Africa. It is usually grown organically. In the Netherlands, fonio is marketed by a fair trade brand. The disadvantage is of course the transport, which makes fonio a less sustainable choice than, for example, organic spelled from Dutch soil. A Photo from splendidtable.org.



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