NCAC, food chain actors deepen indigenous cuisine culture
Considering the place of cuisine in Africa’s cultural heritage, the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, recently gathered both farmers and marketers of locally packaged food operating as small and medium scale enterprises to showcase variety of locally produced food and their health benefits.
Held last week in Abuja, Runsewe used the occasion to address the disturbing issue of Nigerians’ preference for imported foods.
Titled, Unveiling of Made-In Nigeria Food Produce and truly, several processed foods neatly packaged for both local consumption and for export were showcased. They include, unripe plantain powder, washed and dried beans, honey, herbal teas, soya beans, garri and some green vegetables that have been tried and grinded into powder for durability.
The items were packaged and labelled in such a way that they could compete favourably with their imported counterparts.
Calling on all Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora to join hands in promoting locally manufactured food, the D.G. also warned against excessive consumption of foods preserved with chemicals as according to him, some of them have health implications.
“Nigeria is blessed with variety of food items. Time has come to encourage consumption of Nigeria Cuisines,” he said.
Noting that supporting local producers has the capacity to create job opportunities for Nigerians especially women and youths, Runsewe stressed, “patronising made-in Nigeria food has become very imperative.”
Commending both the farmers and marketers which comprised mostly women, for their entrepreneurial drive, the D.G. was optimistic that more than 4,500 direct and indirect jobs have been created through the food chain.
One of the steps he pledged to take was to partner relevant agencies in ensuring that baskets containing assorted packaged locally produced foods (food baskets) are strategically showcased at the airports, embassies and supermarkets.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Business Visa Limited, the umbrella body of local food producers and sellers, Abubakar Garba Sani, took time to relay some of the challenges confronting the body.
One of such challenges, he identified, was lack of separate markets for purely locally made foods. He consequently called on the government to provide made-in Nigeria food market as well as halt the unfettered access given to some foreign nationals into the country’s rural markets.
Other challenges identified during an interface with local food producers and entrepreneurs include stringent registration process and urged government to prevail on the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC).