The Harvest of Fonio

Fonio is a denomination of a small grain native of West Africa, Digitaria exilis. It was cultivated since 3000 B.C. and in today Burkina Faso, while it has given way to higher yield crops, it is often present in rituals. While living in Karankasso Sambla I witnessed the efforts if the AVDCRKS (Association Villageoise pour le Developpement de la Commune Rurale de Karankasso Sambla) to give it new diffusion. This cultural and development association is also a farming association, a system very common in the area to organise labour in the harvesting season, when groups more numerous than an extended family are required. Often, among the Sambla, an association pays a musician to play the xylophone, helping them with the hard work.

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