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#sfrome: Roasted green durum wheat, really? (237)

Posted by Beate Stalsett Monday, October 3, 2011

By Elaine Reinke (IFAD, NEN)

Yes, really. Frike. Apart from having learned about its huge potential of increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, I’ve experienced a wonderful example of how the ShareFair made a real difference!

But back to Frike for now: ICARDA’s dream team Dr Miloudi Nachit and Mr Michael Devlin explained that this staple food in the MENA region is made of immature durum wheat, roasted or boiled, and consumed as a side dish (just like couscous), an ingredient for soups and stuffings, and as flour to make breads, pasta and pastries. It has significant potential for national and export markets, but smallholder farmers are not benefitting as yet.
ICARDA has therefore researched tested Frike production and marketing at smallholder level in IFAD supported operations in Turkey, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco over the last years and developed simple and low-cost technologies for Frike value-addition which can generate up to ten times more profit than wheat sales – straight into the farmer’s pocket. On top of its marketing potential, Frike is a highly nutritious product which is mainly processed by the women of local communities. The current production of 300,000 tonnes per year has potential to be scaled up to one million tonnes, and substantially improve the incomes of smallholder households if fostered as a food security strategy in appropriate areas.

Which brings us back to the issue of “sharing is caring”:
This “one man show” turned out to hit the bull’s eye of KM, namely bringing the right knowledge to the right people at the right time. The right knowledge was the one of ICARDA on Frike production, the right person was an IFAD colleague working on grants, and the right time was the ShareFair – and voilà, a project is in the making. For now, the one right person got convinced – and the policy makers in the MENA region shall follow!