Jonathan Bethony, founder and owner of SEYLOU Bakery & Mill in Washington DC, recently spoke with Voice of America about his passion for grains, particularly his millet baguette, which was inspired by his visit to NCBA CLUSA’s USDA-funded Millet Business Services Project in Senegal.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the project is supporting millet farmers and processors—many of them co-ops—to improve their value chain and connect to local and international markets. After the trip, Bethony explained why he’s hooked on millet and the special connection his bakery has with Senegal. You can read his guest blog here.
Bethony visited the project in the Fall of 2017 to assess the bakery market and help determine if millet produced and marketed with the project could also be used for flour and baking. Based on his recommendations, the project put together a flour and milling training in Senegal and helped to create mixed flour recipes.
“We discovered that there was a push to start integrating a percentage of millet into local bread production,” writes Bethony. Senegal does not grow any of its own wheat and relies entirely on imports. It also has a bread culture, meaning bread is eaten nearly every day by almost everyone. “It was evident that introducing a percentage of local grains into the daily bread of the Senegalese population would keep large amounts of money inside the country while providing jobs. We are honored to become a part of this important work.”
Working to access a market point for millet products, the project has supported clients in setting up more than 65 porridge kiosks across Senegal that serve nutritious millet-based porridge in a sanitary setting. Introducing millet flour and baked goods to this network of kiosks is a potential next step and would increase marketing opportunities for millet processors.
For those in the Washington, DC area, you can learn more about millet flour both at the Seylou Bakery and at NCBA CLUSA’s Co-op Festival October 6 and 7 where Bethony will be showing samples of millet products.