La Petite Damba was recently awarded a $258,000 co-investment grant by the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) to fulfill its objectives of scaling up and automating its fonio processing, as well as increasing its storage capacity in the rural Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.
Founded in 2016 and based in Conakry, La Petite Damba specializes in the transformation and commercialization of local Guinean products for the African, European and North American markets. La Petite Damba’s most successful and profitable product is fonio. This nutrient-packed, gluten-free cereal is commonly used in dishes as a healthy replacement for rice or quinoa.
“La Petite Damba is pleased to receive this grant award and put it towards the construction of a brand-new production facility and the purchase of modern equipment to create meaningful impact for 2,400 individuals in the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea,” said Fode Youla, Co-founder and CEO of La Petite Damba. “The new facility will boost La Petite Damba’s production to 250 tons of fonio per year from the current 60 tons per year. Sales of fonio are expected to surpass $1.4M during the life of the 2-year project.”
Guinea produces 75% of the world’s stock of fonio, however, the processing techniques of this ancient grain have seen very little progress over the past thousand years. The grant funds will assist in improving the company’s processing of this high-value crop, which will, in turn, reduce the burden of the majority female population that grows fonio, create high-paying jobs, and boost the export potential for Guinea.”
Speaking on the agreement, Karl Littlejohn, Trade Hub’s Acting Deputy Chief of Party, said: “At the Trade Hub, we are doing our outmost to support our partners as they look for new opportunities to create jobs, reduce operating costs, and improve sustainability of their activities. We see great potential in this collaboration with La Petite Damba to contribute to this mission.”