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Thrill, fun at rebranded food festival

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
02 January 2022   |   2:40 am
Last Sunday, Lagos State Government held an exhibition of an array of a variety of mouth-watering seafood, local delicacies, fruit juices, drinks and more during its maiden edition of the Lagos State Food Festival....

Last Sunday, Lagos State Government held an exhibition of an array of a variety of mouth-watering seafood, local delicacies, fruit juices, drinks and more during its maiden edition of the Lagos State Food Festival, held at Muri Okunola Park on Victoria Island.

The event, aimed at sensitising local and international markets to the state’s numerous agricultural commodities and foods produced therein, was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture. Formerly known as the Seafood Festival, it was a yearly event hosted by the state government to bring attention to this aspect of its economy.

It is a follow-up on the success story achieved from the execution of five former festivals that were held between 2012 and 2020.

However, the maiden festival was not just about celebrating seafood and agricultural produce, it also served as an avenue to stimulate investors’ interest in the food business, thereby creating direct and indirect jobs for value chain actors and artisans.

Additionally, the programme helped to foster networking among various agricultural supply chains in food market in Lagos.
More than 300 different foods, drinks, aqua products and agricultural commodities were on display at the event. Children also had fun playing with assorted games.

The event also featured a wide collection of fresh products, organic groceries, dry food, confectionery, pastries, ready-to-eat consumables and drinks, in addition to seafood, meat and poultry in line with the theme of the festival: A Taste of Lagos.

But aside food products, there was also such culinary undertakings as food tasting, cooking master classes with renowned chefs, outdoor grills and thrilling entertainment.

The presence of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who declared the event open, added glamour to the occasion. Clad in a black apron, the Governor set up the symbolic outdoor kitchen and prepared stir-fried rice, the official meal of the occasion, to the excitement of guests.

Together with Whitemoney, winner of 2021 Big Brother Naija, who was the guest chef, Governor Sanwo-Olu cooked a Lagos delicacy made from onion, smoked fish, mixed granules of bonga fish and crayfish, pepper and seasoning.

But Sanwo-Olu did not stop at this, as he moved round to have one-on-one engagement with tradesmen who brought their products for exhibition. He encouraged them to take advantage of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to grow their businesses, since part of the event’s objective was to boost residents’ entrepreneurial spirit.

He said the administration remained committed to promoting growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and that his government continually carries out reforms to ensure ease of doing business in Lagos.

A vendor at the event, Olajumoke Adedeji, said the festival aided her to network with people from different areas, including transaction.

“This is the second year I have been to this event. I must say that it has really impacted my business positively. I get to meet new people, especially potential clients. The good thing about this festival is that people get to see what I do and I also get to see people and what they do. This gives me and my business more chance to explore and expand.”

Another vendor, who identified herself as Ola, said the innovation has contributed immensely to her business growth and clientele.
“Today, I have met potential clients who were able to patronise my business. Some have already recommended my services for future patronage and it has been a great one. I’m happy that I took part in the festival. I am grateful to the Lagos State Government for this platform.”

Enitan Yusuf, a guest, said the festival has always been fun, and that she enjoys being a visitor every year. “I’ve always enjoyed coming for this event. It has always been a means of networking, as I get to see and meet new people. I also get to taste different kinds of food and most importantly make new friends. I have always looked forward to attending the Lagos food festival.”