Value Added Fufu!

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2006 at 7:09 pm

Maybe this blog is starting to sound like more of a cheerleader than a naysayer, but I suppose that’s reflective of my mood lately… in any case, this is some good sustainable-development news from Ghana:
BBC NEWS | Africa | Ghana’s cooks take to fast fufu

Some enterprising Ghanaians, with some USAID and African Development Bank help, have started processing the local and beloved staple fufu. Fufu is the same all over West Africa, at least the parts I’ve visited – whatever the locally abundant staple is, pounded into smooth mush and served with sauce. It has different local names but it’s alll prepared exactly the same way.

What makes this good news is the indication that Ghana is climbing the poverty ladder. Americans and Europeans can already see imported ethnic food all over their grocery stores – from Latin America and especially Asia. That Ghana has developed enough that the market is producing processed fufu is good news. This means there is disposable income there now – people’s needs are being met.

A half-way step that I was able to see in Niger was the grain pounding machine. As the BBC article states, women spend hours and hours pounding grains into flour. It’s very tiring and time consuming work, a task that should be left to medeival times. A typical commmunity development project would invest village savings into a communal grain-pounding machine. The pounding machine would generate income and maintenance money through a small fee per bowl of grain, and the women would have 8 hours of pounding completed in less than 5 minutes. This allowed the women to take over tasks that would keep their children out of school, like collecting firewood, gardening, or farming.

That, my friends, is climbing up the poverty ladder.


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