Fonio is considered to be the oldest cereal in West Africa. In the cosmogony of Mali's Dogon people, the fonio grain, which is known as po, is the "germ of the world". (In opposition to the acacia tree which symbolizes primitive nature, fonio represents agriculture. All the crop plants are in germ in the fonio seed).
Fonio (Digitaria exilis) cultivation area
Fonio producer in Guinea
According to the famous French agronomist Roland Porteres (1906-1974), fonio is grown between latitudes 8 and 14 North, from Senegal to Lake Chad. Further East, it is supplanted by finger millet (Eleusine coracana).
White fonio (Digitaria exilis)
is primarily grown in Guinea, where it is a staple for people living in the mountain regions of Fouta Djalon. It is also found in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin...