Acha (Fonio)

Acha is a cereal crop grown in some areas of Bauchi, Plateau and Kaduna states. Acha’s high nutritional content makes it a high demand crop; especially in urban areas where its nutritional value is understood. However the production and supply of acha remains low and falls short of its demand. Acha production is unpopular because of the drudgery involved in its harvest and processing. In the traditional way of processing, the acha grains are dehulled by beating, trampling or in a mortar. Acha seeds are additionally very small in size, which makes its winnowing hard to do as sand tends to remain with the seeds, leading to gritty finished/cooked products. Given the difficult and time consuming production process of the acha, this crop is now mainly produced by women. Many Acha producers have reduced the quantity that they produce, and some have substituted the crop with other crops such as rice.

Propcom Mai-karfi is working to provide processing and marketing support to acha farmers in Plateau state by linking them to Pye-Ryat Foods International Ltd., a Jos-based indigenous company which uses semi-mechanised methods to winnow, grade, destone, wash and dry acha into clean finished grains. Pye-Ryat provides quicker, cost effective and less-laborious processing services to farmers for a fee. Pye-Ryat additionally buys acha from farmers and processes it into different forms which it then sells in commercial quantities to off-takers in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos. Through this partnership, Propcom Mai-karfi aims to reach thousands of women as a result of the commodity’s domination by women.