Stakeholders’ Perceptions of and Preferences for Utilizing fonio (Digitaria exilis) to enrich local diets for Food and Nutritional Security in Nigeria. 

Ibrahim Bio Yerima, A., Oselebe, H., Nnamani, C.V., C. Ifekwe, C. O. A. Adje, E. H. Kwon-Ndung, C. A. Afiukwa, E. A. Uyoh, S. Dangana Abdul, H. I. Opaluwa, S. Dachi & E. G. Achigan- Dako. Stakeholders’ perceptions of and preferences for utilizing fonio (Digitaria exilis) to enrich local diets for food and nutritional security in Nigeria. Genet Resour Crop Evol (2024).

Fonio (Digitaria exilis), also called “acha” in Nigeria, is a staple food crop that plays an important role in food and nutritional security for millions of people in West Africa. However, in Nigeria, as in most African countries where it is consumed as a whole grain to enrich local diets, its utilization patterns are poorly documented. Thus, generating knowledge of stakeholders’ perceptions of and preferences for its use is critical for understanding the constraints and drivers affecting fonio utilization patterns. The main objective of this study was to review the utilization patterns of fonio by providing key information on stakeholders’ perceptions and preferences in Nigeria. In this review, we first discuss production and synthesize some basic information relevant to different uses of fonio and stakeholders’ perceptions of and preferences for such use. We also examine how farmers often maintain fonio diversity, highlight challenges that limit production and consumption on a wide scale and propose a roadmap for scaling up production and increasing the adoption level of fonio. The roadmap proposed in this study is based on five axes, namely, production, innovation in postharvest and processing technologies, marketing systems, technology dissemination, and novel gene prospecting. We assume that documenting the generated knowledge will increase public awareness of the nutritional and health properties associated with food-based products and help guide policy-makers and the private sector to strategically support the research and development of the native crop of West Africa for sustainable food and nutritional security. Further ethnobotanical research will be necessary to shed light on the extent and patterns of indigenous knowledge of fonio-based traditional foods in Nigeria.

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