The first ever cookery competition showcasing two traditional foods of millet and sorghum was held last week in Kampala by Makerere University and non-government organisation, African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET).
The competition was divided into four categories; professional chefs, youth “foodie”, product developers and student concept. It was held at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala under a project known as Bringing Traditional Grains Back to the Dinner Table.
Dr Julius Gatune, an official from ACET said whereas millet and sorghum are rich in food nutrients like Omega 3, fatty acids, zinc, Vitamin E, calcium and Vitamin A in large amounts, such traditional foods are not finding their way on dinner table.
“The problem starts with the image of these foods which is normally poor but also, there are few ready-to-use products made out of these foods,” Dr Gatune said.
He says that under the project that is jointly run by Pardee RAND Graduate School and sponsored by Resilient Africa Network (RAN), the competition is not “necessarily about who wins what” but to be used as a platform to promote awareness of the benefits of the said foods and attract product innovators.
“When you have more products ready to use by urban people, you will reduce the importations of wheat and this is good for the economy,” he added.
At the event, participants exhibited the different products including cakes, bread, soup, sausages, among others, made from millet and sorghum.
Dr Yusuf Byaruhanga, a researcher at Makerere University, said the institution is carrying out tests on products made from millet and sorghum such as edible ice cream cones, sorghum breakfast flakes and puffed sorghum snacks that can be instantly accessible.
Maureen Bamukisa, a student from Makerere University, who innovated sorghum breakfast cereals, said her dream is to make it a commercial viable business.
“The challenge now is the funds to produce these products on a large scale and the postharvest handling of millet by farmers who leave impurities in it,” she said.