The foufoumix is efficient, smart design

Called Foufoumix, it consists of two rotor blades in an aluminium bucket with a lid, set on a bright blue, wooden stand with a retro, 1960s feel.

Written by Mercedes Sayagues

“I fled from being recruited to pound foufou,” he tells Ogojii.

It is a back-breaking, sweaty and noisy process: pounding cooked pieces of yam and water with a wooden pestle and mortar to make smooth, elastic dough. The fastest way is synchronized pounding by two or three people in a loud, rhythmic thump-thump-thump, the daily soundtrack of urban and rural Togo.

Logou no longer flees the kitchen. He has invented an electric blender that whips up a perfect foufou for 12 people - which would take nearly an hour to pound - in less than 10 minutes, effortlessly and hygienically.

Called Foufoumix, it consists of two rotor blades in an aluminium bucket with a lid, set on a bright blue, wooden stand with a retro, 1960s feel.

It wasn’t easy. Every step was a hassle, Logou recalls, from designing the blender to changing people’s mentality, but the hardest was finding financing.

An electro-technician, Logou worked two jobs over 15 years and invested all his savings in developing the Foufoumix.  He started tinkering with the idea in 1996, patented it in 2000, built a prototype in 2006, and sold the first in 2008. In 2014 the Foufoumix won the US$25 000 Africa Innovation Award for the invention with best business potential.

"The ensuing media visibility was a game changer. Togo’s  President congratulated him publicly, starting  “a Foufoumix fever fuelled by patriotic pride,” Logou says. Overnight, Logou’s bank credit ballooned from $34 000 to $310 000. “The banks were coming to me!” he laughs.

His fledgling company was able to standardise production, end stock-outs and boost quarterly production from 240 to 1, 000 machines.

The Foufoumix comes in two sizes, for restaurants ($515) and for families ($430).  Of the 1 500 sold to date, 65% were for domestic use.

“Foufou’s arduous preparation was an obstacle for mass consumption and overseas marketing,” says Logou.

Now foufou can be offered in restaurants and at weddings, sparing cooks a hard chore.

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