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 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.
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.
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.
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.
TRADITIONAL FOOD AND BEVERAGES EXPO SYMPOSIUM
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: