U.S. Invests Ghc10m in Sustainable Fonio Production to Increase Food Security and Economic Opportunities in Ghana’s North

The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is investing $742,000 (10.8 million Ghana Cedis) in fonio production to increase food security and improve farmers’ livelihoods in northern Ghana.

This funding will support AMAATI, a Ghanaian social enterprise, to expand its fonio processing capacity from three to ten metric tonnes per day at its factory in Tamale.

Fonio is a drought-resistant, gluten-free, grain from the millet family. It regenerates degraded soil and is packed with numerous nutrients and health benefits.

“Fonio isn’t just a grain; it’s a symbol of resilience, empowerment, and progress, for communities across northern Ghana, especially for women who have limited access to land,” said USAID/Ghana Deputy Mission Director Grace Lang during the opening of the expanded AMAATI fonio factory in Tamale.
 
USAID Ghana Deputy Mission Director shows off a new package of fonio - a sustainable grain grown in Northern Ghana and processed at AMAATI's factor in Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana (May 29, 2024).
 
Since 2021, USAID’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH) has supported AMAATI, which pioneered the revival of fonio in northern Ghana, to develop a 1,000-hectare fonio farm, train 8,100 landless and disenfranchised farmers, mainly women and youth, to produce and process fonio, to engage in good agricultural practices, and to export fonio worth $4.6 million (66.9 million Ghana Cedis).

“This factory represents our [USAID and AMAATI] joint commitment to develop the fonio market in West Africa. It will enable more women and youth in northern Ghana to engage in fonio farming and facilitate value-added manufacturing of the super grain for domestic consumption and export” Lang added.

The United States is Ghana’s largest bilateral development partner. In 2023 USAID’s bilateral development assistance, totaling over $140 million, was dedicated to supporting agriculture, economic growth, health, education, governance, and more.

WATIH supports businesses, like AMAATI, to increase productivity and competitiveness, and access the U.S. market. Through the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), Ghana can export more than 6,500 products to the United States duty free.


About USAID

USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID’s activities and strategic partnerships support Ghana to advance an integrated approach to development, promoting accountability, sustainable systems, and inclusive development.

About WATIH

The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub is a five-year, $116 million trade and investment facilitation activity designed to improve private sector productivity, profitability, and competitiveness in West Africa through market-based approaches. By working in partnership with the private sector and fostering co-investments, the Trade Hub generates new private-sector capital investment in key sectors to create jobs and increase trade between the United States and West Africa.

About AMAATI

AMAATI Company, Ltd. is a Ghanaian social enterprise that pioneered the revival of fonio, an ancient African grain that is gluten-free and high in nutrients. Working with farmers to produce and process fonio, AMAATI was formed with the idea of creating a sustainable livelihood for women farmers using regenerated land