A good understanding of the socio-demographic and economic factors which characterize the food value chains (FVC) of traditional African fermented foods is a major prerequisite for developing and implementing scientific evidence-based policies towards the improvement of Africa’s food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. This study aims at identifying the key factors which shape the FVC for mawè and its derived products. Mawè is a traditional fermented cereal dough, widely consumed in Benin. The findings of the study show that mawè and its derived products are processed, marketed, and consumed through both ‘traditional’ and ‘traditional-to-modern’ value chains. The traditional chain plays a key role in facilitating food affordability for low-income people. However, the traditional-to-modern value chain is increasingly predominant, especially in an urbanized environment, and consequently offers greater opportunities for value chain upgrading for value-added processing of traditional fermented foods. The study offers insights into policy and research challenges in value chain upgrading.
Production, consumption, and quality attributes of Akpan - a yoghurt-like cereal product from West Africa
Akpan is a high-potential, traditional yoghurt-like product made from fermented cereal starch, and consumed as a thirst-quenching beverage in Benin. This study investigated the characteristics of consumers, the traditional processing techniques and constraints, and the quality attributes of the product in order to find out the best options for possible industrial development. For this purpose, a survey was carried out in different municipalities using a questionnaire administered to stakeholders. While the production and commercialization of Akpan are undertaken exclusively by women, consumption cuts across all classes of people, with consumers in a wide range of socio-cultural groups, ages, and educational levels. Four types of Akpan were encountered, varying in their raw materials and processing technologies. Maize and sorghum were used either singly or in combination through submerged or solid-state fermentation processes. Among the product types, Akpan from maize ogi was the most preferred, mainly because of its long-established history, white colour, sour taste, and pronounced ogi aroma.
Gowe is a sweetish paste of malted, fermented, and cooked sorghum and/or maize flour, consumed in its pure state, but preferentially as a beverage after homogenizing with water, sugar, milk, and ice. A survey was carried out at different localities in the traditional gowe producing areas to investigate the diversity of the processing techniques, consumers’ characteristics, and the quality attributes. Producers and sellers were women exclusively while consumers cut across all classes of age, socio-cultural groups, and educational levels. Gowe varied in cereal and processing techniques, with maize and sorghum being used either singly or in combination (maize/sorghum ratio varying from 1 to 3) through four processes. Apart from the alternative process which leaves out the malting step, gowe processing techniques aim at producing sweetish and acidic tasting products through malting, saccharification, and fermentation. A principal component analysis plot of quality criteria of gowe indicated that the preference of consumers was directly associated with the perceptions of producers.