Fonio husking machine

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A Fonio husking machine was invented by Sanoussi Diakité, a Senegalese mechanical engineer.[1] Diakité was awarded the Rolex Award in 1996 for the invention.[2] Fonio is a staple crop in western Africa. Because the fonio grains are so small, it is difficult to remove the brittle outer shell. "For hundreds of years, African women have carried out the painstaking task of preparing fonio by pounding and threshing a grain and sand mixture with a pestle and mortar. After one hour of this tedious work, only two kilograms of fonio are available for consumption and fifteen liters of water are needed to remove the sand."[3] The whole process has been reduced from a 1-hour job to a 6-minute job.

Diakité's solution was a 50 kg device that gently abrades the surface of the seed before passing through a rotating mechanism, which removes the husks.

This device is an example of appropriate technology, because of its ability to solve a significant problem in developing countries and the ease with which it can be manufactured. In 2008, his work was one of the laureates of The Tech Awards in the Health Award category.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "African Genius". Kumatoo. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  2. ^ "Easy to grow, hard to prepare". Rolex Awards. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  A photo gallery of the fonio husking machine.
  3. ^ "A machine to prepare African cereals". Rolex Awards. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  4. ^ "2008 Laureate Sanoussi Diakité". The Tech Awards. Retrieved 2012-04-00.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)