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Opinions of Friday, 31 December 2004

Columnist: Agyin, Ofoe

Fufu-Pounding Machine? They Must Be Kidding.

I read about KNUST having invented a fufu-pounding machine a few weeks ago and could not hide my surprise and worry. My surprise and worry stem from the fact that even at this age of technology, our premier institute of technology still lurks in the middle ages.

I wouldn't have any qualms about the machine if we didn't live in the age of fast cookers, microwave ovens, and preprocessed food. Somebody tell our engineers that I, and others like me, will take a microwave oven and fufu powder over a fufu-pounding machine and cooked casava and plantains.

Personally, I don't know how the machine will sound in a self-contained residence, but it won't be any different from the nuisance of the pestle and mortar.

We need innovation but certainly not ones that will take us back to where we were. Inventing a fufu-pounding machine is just like re-inventing the phonograph record in the age of CDs and DVDs. No matter how good the phonograph record turns out, CDs and DVDs will not give way to it.

What we need the KNUST engineers and their team to do is to find ways of turning our casava, plantains, cocoyams, and yams into fufu powder like we use in the US and other countries. Apart from curbing the annual food rot in our system back home, the preparation is clean, hygenic and fast. When I come home from work ready to eat fufu, I reach for a box of plantain or cocoyam fufu powder and a mixing bowl. Within minutes, my elastic fufu is steaming in the eating bowl on my dinette set. I don't have to generate trash, endure any noise except the faint hum of the microwave as it does its work, or clean a machine that may not be easy to clean after use.

I don't mean to put down your efforts, but the invention at this time of our economy when food is rotting by the heap on the farms and in the markets is as out of place as a tophat on a baboon. We need to find ways of preserving our produce to save millions of dollars of losses each year and by researching into turning our foodstuffs into powder forms for instant preparation, you guys will be doing us a great service. As a matter of fact, you'll be killing two birds with one stone. That is, you'll be curbing produce losses and at the same time cutting food preparation time by 90%. That is better than an invention that will not change our economy.

Fufu-pounding machine? I say I'll stick with my powder and microwave oven.


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