Tag Archives: Corn festival

The Corn Magic

The rain season had a strong appeal to me growing up. The appeal was more than the excitement of running outdoors half-naked, feeling the raindrops pelt my skin. It was more than feeling thrilled when we avoided getting whooped for tracking mud on the floors. It was the corn that grew on talk silky stalks.

Corn. Supple, golden, hot, and moist. One staple plant that comes with the rain season.

People have different consumption preferences. Some like it boiled in salted water till tender, others prefer it grilled over hot coals, and some enjoy it cooked with other foods like rice or beans. There are many ways to enjoy it

 

An amazing fact about this produce is the potential it carries for economic growth. According to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the United States’ corn exports in 2020 were up to 1.6 billion dollars. China and Mexico export a combined value of 9.73 billion dollars in 2021.

 

This amazing crop is versatile – from adhesives to medicinal teas. Its economic importance spans from importing and exporting corn-based items like food produce, livestock feed, and everyday items.

The Naija Corn Festival 2021 was held in Lagos State. It had a panel discussion that covered topics like the sustainable development for a nation, healthy ways to eat corn as a family, and business opportunities the product provides for individuals. It was a mix of shared knowledge and fun.

An exciting part of the festival was the booths spanned from end to end with a plethora of corn delicacies; thrilling games and tons more.

This year promises to be more. Click here to sign up today!

Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, now open.

The wait was definitely worth the while, as the newly constructed Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, officially opens its doors to the public!

 

 Setting an almost unbeatable standard in the Nigerian hospitality industry, Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja stands out with 206 guest rooms and 44 suites, inclusive in all rooms are 55′ inches smart televisions, complimentary WiFi, exceptional Marriott luxury bedding, and many more amenities. 

Marriott brand, making a debut in Nigeria will definitely remain a lucrative move considering the population and level of travel in the country. Also, the location of the hotel is the heartbeat of Lagos making it close and accessible to a wide range of individuals.

 

The newly built hotel also has specially designed amenities for it’s guests including the Great room, the M Club for elite club members, a luxury spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool, making it perfect for business and leisure and the modern-day travellers.  

Volker Heiden, the Marriott International – Sub Saharan Africa area vice-president stated: “We are excited to have opened the Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, bringing ‘Marriott Hotels’ transformed vision to Nigeria.”

 

“Lagos is a vibrant and bustling city with much to see and do for leisure and business travellers.

 

“What better place to debut the Marriott Hotels brand in Nigeria with its thoughtful service and intuitive spaces that enable guests to be inspired during their stay.”

Marriott brand has a whooping 580 Hotels and resorts in over 60 countries across the world! The Marriott brand is of USA origin and is among one of the most popular hospitality brands in the world presently. 

My Corn Experience

Bukola says if you order food in a restaurant and there is corn-on-the-cob amongst the options, it is going to be an expensive meal. This is true. It’s almost amazing how this saple food can be transformed in a variety of ways to increase its value, and presence in dishes.

For me, corn holds a special meaning. It reminds me of rainy days and evenings spent looking over a vendor’s open cauldron of boiling water choosing the juciest corn in the lot to buy. It reminds me of cozy moments seated in the midst of my siblings munching on boiled corn all the while telling myself not to think of the regret I’ll have when it gets stuck between my teeth. 

Corn to me is warmth, and as its season approaches though I am not home with my family, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with an unexplainable joy. 

The Naija Corn Festival organized by TBAH is another reason the corn season this year holds a special appeal to me. It is more than just corn; it is me sharing the joy I derive from the food with other people, and learning more of its uses.

It’s fascinating how corn as a food is malleable. Growing up, I only ever ate boiled corn with pear (left to become tender in hot water then rubbed over in salt before eating). I couldn’t imagine any other pairing with it. Although my older brother preferred his corn ‘roasted’, we all ate corn with pear. 

During the mandatory year Nigerian youths spend in a programme called NYSC (National Youth Service Corps), I spent my time outside the state I grew up in. There, I encountered people savouring corn with coconut. At first, I couldn’t grasp how such a pairing would taste, but trying it out reminded me why you can eat a meal in one form, and still be amazed by its flavour when it is made differently. That is the beauty of food.

I became curious about other ways and with other pairings corn can be enjoyed. Some popular meals with corn as a core ingredient in Nigeria are:

Akamu/Ogi: The raw form of ogi is made from yellow or white corn. There is no Nigerian household that doesn’t know ogi. In many homes, having ogi as part of your breakfast is a Saturday tradition.

Jollof Rice and Corn: Nigeria is renowned for its smokey jollof rice recipes. An upgraded form of party jollof rice is jollof rice with corn. It is not uncommon to find sweet corn in fried rice amongst other ingredients, but with jollof rice, it unlocks a whole new flavour.

Igbagwu Oka: This is of Igbo origin. It is made with fresh corn, dried corn, spices, vegetable oil, termites then wrapped in Uma leaves and boiled.

Beans and Corn Porridge (Adalu): This delicacy is made by boiling beans and shelled corn mixed with spices and palm oil.

Corn Fufu: This is made with a mix of corn flour and cassava flour, and enjoyed with soup. It is usually made to cater to a large crowd in parties.

What corn foods have you tried out, and which is your favourite?

 

Naija Corn Festival 2020

We planned to host the First naija corn festival on the 4th July 2020 but Covid-19 happened.
In place of that we decided to host a CSR programme bringing corn to our community for free and we urged people to post their corn eating pictures with #naijacornfest on social media to join our e-corn party. Most people did not post the pictures directly, rather they sent them to us to post and till date ,we have some yet to make it to the gram.

Some of the pictures on Instagram tagged #naijacornfest

The 4th of July 2020 dawned as a rainy day yet my spirits refused to be down, I was optimistic and excited as getting to plan the day itself was a leap of faith .Thus the rain was no discouragement, we were ready to take it on plus God blessed us with amazing set of people who stepped out of their comfort zone to be a part of the event. Though we started later than planned we were able to touch locations within Surulere, and Kilo as our final bus- stop.

Amazing crew braving the rain to share Corn

Courtesy of the rain, we could not do as much video as we would have loved to, plus we totally forgot about the instgram live promise due to the downpour. see here with no sound  the short clip on Instagram live which would have been great content for the video but our video recorder battery had shut down by then. Below is the event re-cap.

 

 

We stopped by at some amazing peoples house like Ajala Nene and  Devee Apparels to give them corn and by this time I was soaked to my shoes , I had to beg for tea (black) to get a bit of warmth. Our final stop was Yakoyo eatery on Ogunlana for take – out hot Amala. By the time I got home, I was already sneezing and my nose was blocked. For the next 2 days, I upped my intake of Vit C to 2000gms and by the third day was as fit as a fiddle.

A big shout out to all our friends,family and people who came across the adverts and registered, to those who went out of their way to cook /buy corn that day ,we celebrate you specially. Up till the 14th of July, we were still receiving pictures with people joining from all over Nigeria, the UK and the US.

While preparing for the Corn  Festival, I met a young man who printed on the packaging used for the corn,he supported us by posting about the event and recently also celebrating this hardworking and diligent Corn seller who is his Mother.

We celebrate you hardworking Mother for all that you do.

The Corn conversation is just getting started.

Have a Corntastic day !

 

The Naija Corn Festival

We have a dream, to create new tourism attractions for Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Thus the introduction of our flagship event named “Naija Corn Festival” which we intend to develop and deliver at a global standard to attract visitors from all over the world.

Corn festivals are not new as there are countries all over the world who currently celebrate this with history of the festival spanning over 40 years e.g. South Africa, United states, Canada, Britain and Australia. The United States is the largest producer and exporter of corn, accounting for more than half of world corn exports with production in the 2018 -2019 at an estimate of 366.6 million metric tons. Investopedia 2019. “Corn is sometimes referred to as “yellow gold” because it is used to make so many products and byproducts that end up throughout the economy from, food store shelves to gas pumps to industrial chemical plants” Reuters 

Maize aka Corn is the most important staple cereal crop in sub- Saharan Africa. It contains approximately 72% starch, 10% protein and 4% fat, supplying an energy density of 365Kcal/100g and is grown throughout the world (Ranum et.al 2014). Corn is rich in fibre and plant compounds that aid digestive systems and eye health. It is high in carbs but when eaten in moderation and cooked with methods to enhance the nutritional value, it can be part of a healthy diet. According to IITA – “Maize, Zea mays L. (corn), is the most abundantly produced cereal in the world. All parts of the crop can be used for food and non-food products.

How much corn did Nigeria produce in 2019 ? How much of this corn was utilized or wasted because we could not preserve nor process them into finished products to reach consumers timely. Currently the scarcity of corn for local farmers in poultry business is making the news.

The largest African producer is Nigeria with over 33 million tons, followed by South Africa, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Africa imports 28% of its required maize grain from countries outside the continent as most of the maize production in Africa is done under rain-fed conditions. About 50 species exist and consist of different colors, textures, and grain shapes and sizes. White maize fetches premium prices in Southern Africa where it represents the main staple food, whereas yellow maize is preferred as animal feed in most parts of South America and the Caribbean. Yours sincerely prefers yellow corn especially when it comes to making Pap aka akamu/ogi.

The desire to host a Naija Corn Festival came while reminiscing about the traditional yam eating festival in my village. I really do not remember nor recollect the details of the ceremony but remember vividly my Mum hammering on us not to eat the new yam until the festival in the village is done. Over time the tradition has worn off as being a Christian today this could be tantamount to idolatry.However, I miss the thrill, revelry and jamboree of having so many yam delicacies to eat all in one day.

There may be a counter argument as an organization focused on tourism which is in sync with preserving our cultures and tradition. But the truth remains that if we do not engage our youth and populace who are mostly not interested in the yam festival happening in the village, other world festivals and carnivals will have them travelling abroad to attend.

What started as reminiscing is actually  deeper when scratched, as a company we position ourselves as a hub for “education and rejuvenation “and this is what the event will achieve.

The Naija Corn Festival will be an opportunity to showcase our indigenous foods made with corn. We will also  highlight and have sessions on how to develop the available growth areas in food processing, how to create value,new products and business opportunities. . Also based on the need and awareness for healthy eating today, it is essential to enrich maize based meals thus we will bring nutritional experts to educate on how to avoid mal -nutrition and vitamin deficiency diseases.

Why Corn ?

Because Corn is everywhere and keeping it out of your shopping basket is a challenge.
Next time check the label of canned goods you want to buy and see how corn has sneaked in everywhere.
Derivatives of corn get used as a food filler, texturizer, emulsifier, sweetener, preservative, adhesive and many other applications.