The Traditional African Food and Beverage Expo 2019

Posted on 21 February 2019 by Makhosi Mahlangu

Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC) in partnership with the National University of Science and Technology, Lupane State University and the African Food Revolution are hosting the 3rd edition of the Traditional Food and Beverages Expo. Running under the theme ‘MODERNISING INDIGENOUS AFRICAN FOOD AND BEVERAGES’, the expo will focus on current research, manufacturing, culinary artistry and technological advancements in indigenous African foods. It will be held in the majestic Matopos in Zimbabwe.

African Food Expo 2019 promises to be explosive


African foods have had little research and development since the industrialization of food industries. From indigenous fruits to indigenous animal species to insects, there has been very little research on indigenous food products. The bioactive compounds and the mechanization of indigenous food products still remains in its infancy. Only a few food products have attained commercial status such as mopane worms and matemba fish to name a few. The indigenous African food sector offers one of the most unique and undeveloped sectors in modern culinary trends. The mopane worm industry is estimated to be worth US$85million but the custodians of this valuable protein source still do not see the potential optimum value.

A African food jamboree

Traditional food has inherent nutritional value and is highly recommended for a healthy lifestyle. Contemporary society has however seen the emergence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) which have been largely condemned by many African countries. Urban communities across Africa have gradually lost knowledge and skills in preparing traditional foods. This has also been coupled by a lack of access to traditional crops as there is limited agricultural activity in urban communities. While there are market places which sell traditional crops, some homesteads have limited knowledge and skill of preparing various dishes.

Academia, Industry, Farmers and Chefs under one roof

African dishes have had limited success in the mainstream culinary industry, even considering the surge in the global organic movement. A few meals have made it mainstream such as the mopane worms from Zimbabwe, Akyeke from Cote d’Ivoire, Jollof rice from West Africa, Egusi soup from Nigeria and bitterleaf from Cameroon to mention a few. 

Traditional Ugandan food

The summer and cropping season presents an opportunity for exploration of the various types of dishes that can be derived from cereals, insects, legumes and novel animal products. The ravages of climate change have seen villagers in rural communities harvesting less crops and perpetually exposed to hunger. There has been limited community education on climate change mitigation and in particular the need to embrace drought resistant small grain varieties.

The food expo will bring together experts from the world of African indigenous foods, innovators, agricultural researchers, farmers, investors, food enthusiasts’ artists, exhibitors, scholars and government officials. The Amagugu Traditional Foods and Beverages Expo provides stakeholders with an opportunity to understand indigenous African food in a wider context in technological advancement, culinary artistry and practical applications.


The Expo will contribute to identification and development of Africa’s indigenous foods through nutrient characterization implication of cultural aspects and recipe formulation & documentation.

Mopane worms


The Traditional Food and Beverages Expo will bring together the brightest minds in traditional African foods for three days of engaging presentations, networking, exhibition and business opportunities. The academic symposium has the following objectives:

  • To highlight the challenges and advancements in the development of indigenous African food products.
  • To profile current research from local universities on local indigenous foods.
  • To identify opportunities for further developments and collaborations between universities, communities and industry,
  • To identify and document African foods that can be researched on and developed into viable food products.
  • To bring relevant stakeholders to make a case for policy making in the indigenous African food market.
  • Evaluate the socioeconomic issues related to the use of indigenous food stocks.
  • Educate the wider public, including the average farmer and various stakeholders in the indigenous food chain, on food value chains.
  • To highlight the role played by music and visual arts in developing local food industry.
  • To share key research findings and innovations in the indigenous African food industry.
  • To document key recipes related to African traditional food.


  • Farmers
  • Researchers
  • Chefs
  • Agribusiness
  • Investors
  • Musicians
  • Policymakers
  • Agro Innovators
  • Journalists
  • University students
  • Visual artists
  • Food enthusiasts
  • Society developers
  • Primary and secondary schools
  • Community members