Italian Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy, Nairobi, hosted a co-lecture on Monday, January 23rd, 2023, at the ARC Hotel, Egerton University
African food heritage is a rich and diverse part of our continent's cultural heritage. From the savory stews of West Africa to the spicy curries of East Africa, indigenous African food has been enjoyed for generations.
However, in recent years, the popularity of fast food and global cuisines has threatened the survival of many traditional African dishes. In an effort to preserve and promote African food heritage, Egerton University, through the African Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management (CESAAM) and the Faculty of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy, Nairobi, hosted a co-lecture on Monday, January 23rd, 2023, at the ARC Hotel, Egerton University.
The theme of the lecture was "Heritage and Utilization of Indigenous African Foods" and was delivered by Prof. Michele Filippo Fontefrancesco of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and Dr. Stellamaris Muthoka of Egerton University in Kenya.
Prior to the lecture, the speakers paid a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor Prof Isaac Kibwage. The Deputy Vice-chancellor Prof Benard Aduda hosted them in the VC board room where he listened to their thoughts and was accompanied by Prof. Joshua Ogendo.
The co-lecture event aimed to promote the importance of traditional agricultural and culinary products and their utilization in ways consistent with Slow Food International’s commitment to "Prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat peoples’ dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us."
The first lecture was titled, "Enhancing the Utilization of Indigenous Foods in Kenya" and was delivered by Dr. Stellamaris Muthoka. Dr. Muthoka discussed the need for people to understand and appreciate the cultural and historical significance of indigenous African foods.
She emphasized the need for a resurgence of indigenous food cultures, which would lead to an increase in the utilization of these foods, not just in Kenya but throughout Africa. She pointed out that this will not only help preserve African food heritage but will also create new opportunities for food entrepreneurs and provide a source of livelihood for local farmers.
The second lecture was "Revisiting the African Agriculture and Cuisines: The Role of Food Heritage in the Growing Food Sector in Kenya" delivered by Prof. Michele Filippo Fontefrancesco. Prof. Fontefrancesco discussed the importance of preserving African food heritage and the role it can play in the growth of the food sector.
He pointed out that by highlighting the unique flavors and ingredients of African cuisine, food entrepreneurs can create new and exciting dishes that can compete with global cuisines. He also emphasized that by promoting African cuisine, the food sector can become more sustainable, as local ingredients will be used instead of imported ones.
The co-lecture event was organized as a blended meeting, where physical participation was strictly by invitation, and virtual participation was open to others within and outside Kenya. The lecture sessions were held at the ARC Hotel, Egerton University, and the Zoom link was shared widely to ensure maximum participation.
In conclusion, the co-lecture hosted by Egerton University, through the African Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management (CESAAM) and the Faculty of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy, Nairobi, was a great success. It helped to highlight the importance of preserving African food heritage and the role it can play in the growth of the food sector. The lecture sessions encouraged people to think about their food.
For further inquiries