Bayelsa Times

Nigerians urged to embrace local cuisines

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged Nigerians to embrace local foods and cuisines to prevent them from going into extinction.

Mohammed, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, made the plea on Saturday in Abuja at the second edition of the 2022 World Gastronomy Day.

The Day had as theme: ” Placing Nigerian Food on International Map.”

The minister said ” preference for our local food will not only eliminate hunger, but will ensure light eating and good nutrition.”

The minister also said consumption of local foods would influence responsible production and consumption while alleviating poverty.

“Our local foods and drinks are readily available all year round and are always rich in nutrients.

” They are sources of income to both farmers and marketers who trade to generate foreign exchange for our dear nation in its quest for economic diversification,” he said.

According to Mohammed, Gastronomy Day offers opportunity to share, educate and inform the world on the level of Nigeria’s rich variety of foods, drinks and beverages.

The minister commended Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, the Director General of National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), and his team for improving the standard of the event.

He expressed confidence that the event would get better with each edition.

Also speaking at the event, Nora Dadut, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, urged Nigerians to always showcase and protect Nigerian cuisines.

According to her, gastronomy is a high sounding word that entails food which is a basic human need.

” We can’t do away with food, we are here because we are searching for food.

” You work to search for food,” she said.

Dadut, who commended Kangiwa for a well organised event, urged Nigerians to be good ambassadors of the country through promotion of its culture.

“You can not separate food from culture.

” It is very important we identify ourselves with the food we eat.

“This the main reason why we miss our food if we are out of the country.

” When we identify with our cuisines, we are as well developing our economy,” she said.

Earlier, Kangiwa had described Nigeria as the most competitive gastronomy tourist destination in Africa.

” The abundance of Nigerian cuisines exhibited today are a reflection of Nigeria’s gastronomic beauty and diversity.

” The cuisines poignantly reveal the ‘farm to table ‘ processes which signpost the economic multiplier effects and social values of a thriving tourism industry,” he said.

To make this year’s event memorable, he said the institute organised a cooking competition involving catering schools.

He added that an essay writing competition was also organised for secondary schools offering tourism in Nigeria.

” Winners of the essay writing challenge shall be rewarded in the course of the programme.

” The day will be rounded off with a gala night which will witness the distribution of prizes to winners of the cooking competition,” he said.

He added that there would be conferment of fellowships by NIHOTOUR on some traditional rulers and individuals who have contributed to the development of the industry in Nigeria.

According to Kangiwa, Nigeria has the potential to be the leading gastronomic tourist destination in Africa.

He pledged that the institute would continue to chart the course in this direction.

The highlights of the event included the unveiling of NIHOTOUR Mobile Training Kitchens.

Others included presentation of awards to winners of the essay competition among others.

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