Of Coffee With Madhumbe

If you were having coffee with me, I would welcome you to this tangle of words and offer you a delicacy grown in the eastern parts of the country, madhumbe.

coffee with madhumbe

The president of Uganda encouraged his people to eat cassava due to global circumstances affecting the wheat supply. While madhumbe are not in the same family as cassava they do serve as an alternative to bread. I could almost imagine our president similarly recommending that we resort to eating alternatives to bread due to the rising bread prices fueled by both global and local shenanigans.

What are these madhumbe, you might be asking yourself, well, they are tuber crops known as taro root similar to yams to the point of them being mistaken for each other. I am not entirely convinced they are that much different.

Taro compared to Yam versus.com

Yam is the common name for the edible tuber of the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) which was independently domesticated on three different continents, Africa, Asia and Americas. Taro Root is a tropical root vegetable genus Colocasia esculenta thought to be native to Southern India and Southeast Asia, but studies show it may also have been independently naturalized in different regions. Taro is one of the most ancient cultivated crops with archaeological evidence showing its presence over 10000 years ago.

madhumbe boiling in pot

These bad boys might cost a bit more than buying bread maybe its because in Zimbabwe they only grow in specific areas. Then make their way to the rest of the country. Its brisk business to sell madhumbe on the highway.

selling madhumbe in Honde Valley photocredit Tinayo Nyadzayo

A dish of madhumbe which has about 4 or 5 of the madhumbe would set you back about $4 to $5 unless maybe you grow them in your garden or farm. I happen to really love them but some people find them somewhat awkward tasting and a bit wild looking ^_^

The simplest way to cook madhumbe is to boil with a dash of butter, peel and serve. I know some pound them into a flour which can then be cooked or baked but I haven’t personally seen madhumbe served in any form except the simply boiled.

If you were having coffee with me I would say that definitely will be looking into alternatives for basic commodities because the recently announced measures to curb inflation seemed to have triggered a shortage of the basics and with those with means panic buying adding to the shortages. The government has since made an announcement that duty will be lowered for individuals with free funds to import basic groceries, as one of the measures to contain price rises of basic commodities.

Imports have normally carried a steep import duty as means of encouraging or boosting local production… Not to say that people have been actually paying the import duty but rather there has been an increase in transporter services from runners and bus companies who can smuggle in goods for a fee much cheaper than duty. The revenue authority and the police have been on a blitz to raid transporters for smuggled goods that won’t have been declared at the border.

smugglers caught in Zimbabwe
security forces intercept smuggled shipment

The blitz has been so intense that people were complaining that cant the police put that much effort in catching real criminals than harassing people simply trying to import basic groceries.

Speaking of the police’s over-enthusiasm in carrying out their duties, they, that is the police, have banned the police from using handheld spikes whilst performing traffic enforcement duties throughout the country. The use of the said spikes had been resulting in accidents some ending up in fatalities. I have been in a pirate taxi trying to evade the police and it’s a hair-rising ordeal that makes you give thanks to all that you hold in reverence when you arrive safely.

Ban in the use of hand held spikes by police
Ban in the use of hand held spikes by police

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the somewhat hastily implemented ban on lending by banks as part of the measures to arrest inflation has been partially reviewed after it had resulted in some unconsidered challenges with services and products that were bankrolled by loans and credit faced challenges in financing. The RBZ issued out a clarification that the blanket ban on lending exempted marketable commodities. “Suspension of lending facilities does not apply to marketable commodities such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, maize, etc. All banks have been advised accordingly,” the RBZ said in its statement.

Have another bite of madhumbe, looks like this might be our new normal, I have just discovered that you can even blend them into a smoothie, just might try that next, cheers🥂

Madhu,be smoothie
madhumbe smoothie recipe HungryHuy

Whats been going on in your neck of the woods?



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  1. Man, this is crazy stuff! Cracking down on people smuggling in basic food stuffs? Aye carumba.

    However. Mrs B and I just went out tonight after work to start a list of canned goods that we can start slowly stocking up on. We figure over the summer we can stock up before we get hit with another covid panic buying like happened last fall. and even here in the US prices are going up. so I’m afraid things are looking grim for everyone…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If they were smuggling drugs and other crazy contraband but nope basic food stuffs… Fortunately the new announcement seems to imply that we can now import basics at low to no import duty still waiting to see if that actually works because things are said yet other things happen instead. Like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

      Panic buying is another pandemic which works like a self-fulfilling prophecy… So globally prices are just going up… Yep the future doesnt look too good


      Liked by 1 person

      1. All good B, I figure I sign my work with an M might as well just go by M. Could go back to Matt 😅 I ain’t consistent


    1. hahaha they are so nothing alike bread; not in taste, texture, colour or even smell.🤣 However we have a sort of tea culture where its not really tea (tea being any hot beverage coffee, herbal tea, lemon tea, etc) if you dont have it with an accompanying starch ideally bread… so anything you can have instead of bread is a bread replacement for your breakfast such as madhumbe, sweet potatoes, corn bread, corn, even rice. 🤣

      The future looks expensive!!!
      Thank you for visiting


      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are absolutely right about them being an acquired taste. When I was child I used to think my mom was cruel to serve them to us. Now that I have grown accustomed to them, I like them.


  3. I love madhumbe. In Uganda, we call it mayuni…and I like it boiled with peanut butter. Delicious!! Then again, we have it as a staple food…so with chicken…I mean it’s just nice


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