Photos’ credit: Aliadoumadji Rimadoum (Chad)
Review: Aliadoumadji Rimadoum and Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
Spirulina collection and utilization have a long history in Chad and go back as the 9th century Kanem Empire.
In order to produce the “dihé”, the Kanembu women being in charge of the collection of spirulina from Lake Chad, pass their collection of wet spirulina over a filter made of cloth or sieves and then spread and sun-dry the product in a sandy pot for about 20 minutes before cutting the semi-dried dihé into small and thin squares and take it to the villages to finish the sun-drying on mats before selling it in the local market. The traditional methods of harvesting and processing of spirulina and making dihé have passed among Kanembu women through very many generations.
“Dihe” is a traditional component of the Kanembu people’s diet because of its richness in protein, iron and beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and hence can enhance the nutritional value of diets especially for that are poor in these nutrients. On the average, the consumption of Dihé could be as high as 50 grams per person per week. Dried dihe is mainly used to make a traditional sauce, broth for meals and included in several dishes.
In addition to family consumption, dihé represents an important source of income for Kanembu women, who also sell excess amounts of the product to local consumers or wholesalers who trade in the product in larger markets; high quality dihé is being sold through pharmacies and groceries in Chad.