Nixtamalisation an indigenous knowledge
20 October 2016
The Agricultural Research Council of South Africa (ARC) partnered with the Mexican Embassy in South Africa to jointly host a roundtable discussion and share knowledge on the ancient Mexican technology of nixtamalisation of maize.
Mesoamericans domesticated maize 8,000 years ago and learned how to obtain the highest nutritional value from it through nixtamalisation, a process of cooking maize in limewater, and hulled.
Photo: Dr Shadrack Moephuli, ARC President and CEO at the podium and Ambassador Mauricio Escanero of Mexico to South Africa (on the far right)
The discussion would serve as a platform to start a useful and meaningful conversation on the topic, networking, and facilitating a mutually beneficial partnership. Stakeholders and key actors from the scientific, academic, public and private sectors from the Southern African region, as well as from relevant regional bodies such as NEPAD and SADC would assess the advantages, opportunities and challenges of maize nixtamalisation.
A lecture on the Cultural Anthropology of Maize, as well as a Symposium on nixtamalisation was also jointly held by the Embassy of Mexico and the University of Pretoria in commemoration of World Food Day on October 16th.
Maize is a popular food in many parts of Africa. It was introduced from Mexico during the colonial era. Mexico has some 59 species of maize, the richest diversity of maize in the world. Tortillas, tamales, tacos and other Mexican culinary delights are among favourite maize dishes and are famous around the world.