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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I, Grains
factors such as the division of labor, traditional beliefs, and people's expectations? (Fonio, after all, is seldom if ever grown under optimum conditions.) Its promotion will succeed best in West Africa if its development is placed within such local constraints.
The processing and cooking of this crop is extremely arduous. Unless this can be relieved, fonio will probably never reach its potential.
Digitaria exilis Stapf and Digitaria iburua Stapf16
Togo: (Digitaria iburua); afio-warun (Lamba); ipoga (Somba, Sampkarba); fonio ga (black fonio); ova (Akposso)
Mali: fani, feni, foundé
Burkina Faso: foni
Guinea: pende, kpendo, founié, pounié
Ivory Coast: pom, pohin
As noted, there are actually two species of fonio. Both are erect, free-tillering annuals. White fonio (Digitaria exilis) is usually 30-75 cm tall. Its finger-shaped panicle has 2-5 slender racemes up to 15 cm
Black fonio has been known to science only since 1911, when a botanist recognized that what was growing in fields with pearl millet in the Zaria region of northern Nigeria was a species new to science.