Technological and socio-economic study of akandji, a neglected traditional foodstuff made from corn (Zea mays L.) in Benin
Foodcrafts, active in Benin, offer a variety of products including akandji. It is a traditional bread made of corn consumed in South Benin. This work aimed to achieving a technological and socio-economic study related to akandji production and marketing activities in Benin. To do this, the methodology adopted was to conduct a pre-survey and a survey in the form of semi-structured interviews based on a questionnaire in the communes of Abomey, Bohicon and Ouidah (Pahou). After that, production monitoring was carried out with the three oldest akandji producers. The results showed that the production and sale of akandji were secular, exclusively female activities practised by women from Fon socio-cultural and sociolinguistic group. The profit per kg received by akandji producers in Abomey (266 XOF) was similar to that received by akandji producers in Pahou (256 XOF). The daily receipts for weekends and holidays were higher than those for working days in the survey localities. Furthermore, the results of the technological study showed that akandji manufacturing process in Abomey differs from that of Pahou. This process in Abomey involved the malting operation unlike that of Pahou. Fermentation times (12h), cooking times (1h) and production times (6 days) in Abomey exceeded fermentation times (1h30min), cooking times (45min) and production times (6h) in Pahou. In contrast, the fermentation (27oC) and cooking (100 oC) temperatures of akandji at Abomey were lower than those of fermentation (31oC) and cooking (178oC) in Pahou. The production of akandji is a profitable activity that strengthens the social status of the producer and ensures important socio-community functions by providing an appropriate local food for traditional rites and festivals and maintains sales markets firmly rooted in society.
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