In search of how to sustainably protect the forest and forest resources, a Ghanaian scientist has developed an innovative fufu pounding pestle that will substantially reduce the number of plant species harvested purposely to pound fufu in the country.
Already, research scientists at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana say one of the plant species is getting extinct due to some factors with the harvesting for conversion into pestle as one of the main reasons.
Fufu is one of the main traditional meals of the Akan people especially the Asantes. Its preparation involves the pounding of boiled cassava and plantain or cocoyam into a soft fine texture using the pestle and mortar, both made from wood. Pestle and mortar are both derived from specific plant species purposely harvested from the forest. There have been technologies to replace the pestle and mortar in preparing fufu in recent times, to take away the drudgery involved.
However, the indigenous people have rejected these technologies, claiming that the traditional energy-sapping and time-consuming method of physically pounding fufu is not only the most acceptable means, but also gives the most preferred texture and taste. This explains why most homes, chop bars, restaurants and even hotels still prepare fufu the traditional way. This has also given employment to people who harvest certain plant species from the forest in large commercial quantities for the open market. Some of these people shared with GBC News where and how they get the plants for the pestle and the availability of the plant species.
It is estimated that two million of these plants are harvested annually from various forest reserves across Ghana to be converted into Fufu pestles. According to the Wood Industry and Utilization Team Lead at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana, Dr. Emmanuel Ebanyenle, the plant species harvested for pestle and mortar are now endangered, forcing dealers in both pestle and mortar to resort to other tree species and presenting same to the market on the blind side of the buyers
In response to this situation, a retired scientist, Mr. Patterson OseiBonsu, formerly of the Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has developed an innovative means of increasing the shelf life of pestles. Mr. Osei Bonsu sheds more light on this innovation.
The innovative fufu pestle is, for now, being adopted on a very small scale within the Kwamo township in the Ejisu Municipality of the Ashanti region.
According to Mr. Osei Bonsu, he will need partners to produce it in commercial quantity for the open market to ultimately help protect the forest and the environment.
By: Nicholas Osei-Wusu.