Black Innovators: Sanoussi Diakite
More often than not, in the West we take for granted how much work truly goes into the preparation of food -- that is, the labor required to create ‘basic’ ingredients that most of us can simply drive to the grocery store and purchase.
Perhaps we would be more aware, were we in a more agrarian epoch, but instead, thanks to the Industrial Revolution, and droves of modern technologies that have emerged since, we assume that wheat and flour and barley and other such staple crops can be easily processed on machinery for our consumption.
Farmers who had been progressively abandoning this crop despite it being renowned throughout Africa for its delicious taste, see Diakite’s invention as the catalyst for the revival of this beloved cereal.
Today, the machine is present in a number of African nations, and without fail, in those regions, farmers are subsequently planting more fonio.
To the Sahara region, and other areas particularly stricken by drought and famine, this crop could turn out to be a life-saver, both in terms of personal nutrition for local residents, and as an income-earner for farmers. In fact, for as much as fonio is loved by Africans, it is also highly prized in Africa by foreigners, and in Europe by West African immigrants, and is believed to have the potential for further international expansion and financial revenue for Africa.
Thanks to Diakite’s impressive invention, the new-found user-friendly nature of a once complicated staple encourages and reestablishes both the growth and consumption of it, helping to put an end to the starvation and malnutrition which has come to be a sad fact of life in so many African regions.
Diakite, during a course of trial-and-error over three years invented the machine in his spare time and built his prototypes at the local high school with his students. He funded his own project, and once invented, explored all possible venues to gain additional funding, and still does so. His was not a big-budget production, but rather one of dedication and the desire to reach a worthy goal. In fact, Diakite proves that the common man can do a great deal of uncommon good when he sets his mind to it.