As part of efforts to increase economic benefits to farmers in the southwest, it is strongly recommended that they participate in the cultivation of Fonio, known in some quarters as hungry rice.
Known as the aha in Hausa, the phonio is a conspicuous crop in parts of West Africa. It is also one of the most nutritious grains. Its seeds are rich in methionine and cystine, amino acids, vital for human health.
Researchers from the Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, The Technological University of Ladot Akinthol (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo State, led by Dr. Grace Babarinde, gave a hint of a community education program in Ikoyi-Il, Provincial Council of the State of Oire.
A team of researchers indicated that unlike its economic benefits, Fonio (Digitaria iburua) also contains some nutrients that are beneficial to the body, as well as amino acids that other cereals do not.
According to them, Fonio grains are rich in essential amino acids necessary for body growth, tissue functions and repair, such as methionine and cysteine, which are two vital human amino acids that are almost absent from large grains such as sorghum, rice, wheat or barley.
They showed that the white phonio variety contains much more sulfur than other grains and is also mainly concentrated in the grain, noting that methionine, which is produced by sulfur, accumulates twice as much in fonio in corn or millet and three times as much with Fig.
Babarinde, who was the keynote speaker at the seminar, added that methionine is an antioxidant used by the body to neutralize and prevent damage by highly charged, unstable molecules known as free radicals that cause cancer.
Speaking of the various foods that can be made from it, she said that she can be used in bread, desserts or even in the production of spaghetti or pasta. "Boiled phonio is usually consumed by plant stew, fish or meat. The products developed from this in this study are porridges (for example, oats used as breakfast), trunk, shinchin, peanuts, donut and eb.
"According to its advantages, a group of researchers discovered that it is rich in energy, iron, helps digestion and cardiovascular function, is good for diabetics, a gluten-free diet, an excellent food for weight loss, good for the skin, and also for hair formation. "