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Cameroonian Inventor Honoured 

Owing to the ingenuity of the inventor, Djilemo was recently awarded the title of the Best Technological Innovation at a trade fair in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. According to an IFAD newsletter, Djilemo developed the oven to dry cassava derivatives such as starch, cassava pellets and high quality cassava flour which can be used in bakery products.

The oven is said to be made from local materials such as compressed earth or bricks and uses fuel wood or cassava peelings as the source of energy. Cassava processors are said to greatly appreciate the oven, which reportedly dries cassava faster than the traditional method of sun drying.

"The "Djilemo Oven" dries cassava in 48-72 hours, depending on the variety, so as to allow some fermentation to take place. More so, the quality of pallets or flour produced from the oven is said to be higher, as it is free from discoloration and is odourless," says the newsletter. The Djilemo Oven is also said to be far cheaper and easier to maintain than ovens said to be generally used in West Africa which use electricity and cost circa FCFA 7 million.

Meanwhile, the Djilemo Oven is said to cost from FCFA 200,000  to FCFA FCFA 1,500,000. Djilemo is quoted by the newsletter as saying: "I was inspired to conceive the oven when I witnessed farmers allowing their cassava to rot on the farms due to a lack of processing means. I wanted to do something to curb post-harvest losses." The first prototype of the oven is reportedly being used by a women’s group in Nkenglikok village in the Centre Region.

The IFAD newsletter also reported that the Roots and Tubers Market-Driven Development Programme, PNDRT, is assisting Djilemo in distributing the oven. Meanwhile, the inventor is said to be already making waves on the international scene, even if he is yet to be known at home.

He was recently invited to take part in an economic forum in Israel. With the support of IFAD’s Regional Cassava and Marketing Initiative, he also travelled to Ghana to share his experience with cassava processors there.Djilemo is said to be developing versions of the oven for gas and electricity, though no detail is given about this development.

The fair at which Djilemo was honoured was organised by IFAD and several partners with the support of the Burkina Faso Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Fisheries Resources and hosted by the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

According to the IFAD newsletter, further information about Djilemo can be gotten by contacting the Country Programme Manager, Abdoul W. Barry, by e-mail at: a.barry@ifad.org

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