Terra Ingredients aims to introduce the ancient grain fonio to the US market after revolutionising a supply chain for better food safety and export.
This follows the company establishing strong relationships with farmers in the Sahel region of Africa who currently grow fonio.
“Presently, there are no real export channels for fonio in West Africa,” said Malick Diedhiou, a Terra Ingredients merchandiser with roots in Senegal.
“By creating one, Terra is providing farmers the option to grow grains for export and improve conditions in the community.”
However, the company said that getting fonio to the market had been a challenge. Every step in processing fonio is famously difficult, from harvest to hulling to hand cleaning.
To take on the challenges of production, Terra developed an origination system committed to fair trade, community reinvestment, and the sustainability of the crop in West Africa.
To handle the challenges of processing, Terra built a modern facility in Dakar, Senegal, and worked with their GFSI-certified affiliate, Stone Mill, in the US to ensure fonio meets the highest standard for food safety.
According to Peter Carlson, Director at Terra Ingredients, fonio is relatively easy to grow and Terra is prepared to ramp up supply as consumer demand grows.
“We currently buy in an ethical and responsible way, and are able to replicate our producer programs very quickly,” he said.
“There are essentially zero dollars being invested into the community from the outside. When more can be grown, through higher cultivation, it has great potential for economic benefits.”