Nigerian dishes on display as NIHOTOUR celebrates World Gastronomy Day
Nigeria joined the rest of the world recently to celebrate this year’s Word Sustainable Gastronomy Day. Hosted every June 18, the event recognises the practices and principals associated with sustainable food consumption combined with the art of collecting, preparing, and consuming the food we eat.
As part of the observance, the day acknowledges the social, cultural, and artistic expression related to gastronomy and defines three dimensions of sustainable development – people, planet, and profit.
Held under the theme, History and Significance, This United Nations-designated day is observed to highlight the role that sustainable gastronomy plays in terms of sustainable development. The day holds more significance in today’s time, as sustainable gastronomy is no less than a boon in terms of both business and health.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world will have over nine billion mouths to feed by 2050. Despite such staggering numbers, one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted.
Speaking at the Nigeria leg of the celebration, which was staged at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Director General, National Institute For Hospitality And Tourism (NIHTOUR) Nura Sani Kangiwa described Gastronomy as a cultural expression of nations through their food choices, sources of ingredients and types of cuisines.
“It typically thrives in culturally rich destinations like Nigeria. In fact, I dare say, Nigeria is the most competitive Gastronomy tourist destination in Africa. This can be found in the diversity of our ethnic groups and corresponding unique foods culture. The abundance of Nigerian cuisines exhibited here, today, is reflective of Nigeria’s gastronomic beauty and diversity. The cuisines poignantly reveal the ‘farm to table’ processes, which signposts the economic multiplier-effects and social value of a thriving Tourism Industry.”
Kangiwa informed that NIHOTOUR in 2021 championed the first ever Sustainable Gastronomy Day (SGD) in Nigeria, with over 1500 attendees comprising stakeholders, captains of travel, tourism and hospitality industry, heads of ministries, departments and agencies, as well as members of the public in attendance.
While noting that this year’s SGD is yet another remarkable opportunity to share, educate and inform the world of Nigeria’s rich diversity in food and beverages, and the traditional cuisines of participating Embassies and Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria, the DG said, “To make this year’s Sustainable Gastronomy special and memorable, the Institute organised Cooking Competition among Catering Schools and Essay Writing Challenge for Secondary Schools offering Tourism in Nigeria. Winners of the Essay Writing Challenge shall be rewarded in the course of the programme this morning. This day will be rounded off with a Gala, which would witness the distribution of prizes to winners of the Cooking Competition and conferment of Fellowship of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) on Royal fathers and individuals who have distinguished themselves and contributed greatly to the promotion, growth and development of the Tourism and Hospitality industry of the country.”
In her remarks, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator (Prof) Nora Ladi Daduut stressed the need to revive the culture of promoting Nigerian foods and cuisines for both domestic and international consumption as a means of entrenching sustainability and food security for the country.She noted that food as one of man’s most basic needs, must be put in the front burner of our national discourse as a means of not only fighting hunger, but also eradicating poverty and ensuring availability of foods for all at affordable cost, adding that the annual observance of the World Sustainable Gastronomy Day in Nigeria under the auspices of NIHOTOUR is a welcome development that must be promoted, maintained and sustained so that Nigeria will remain vividly visible on the food map of the world.
In her address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. Ifeoma Adaora Anyanwutaku, represented by Mrs. Patricia Narai, Director, Domestic Tourism in the Ministry, said the Nigerian government is fully committed to the growth and development of the country’s foods and cuisines, not only for internal consumption, but for export as another source of foreign income earning.
She called on Nigerians, irrespective of their societal status, to take up farming, even if it is at subsistence levels, to achieve food sustainability and food security that the world is yearning to achieve.
Goodwill messages were presented by members of the Diplomatic community, key players and critical stakeholders in the industry, including heads of Ministerial Agencies and Departments who extols the virtues and foresights of NIHOTOUR, under the leadership of Nura Kangiwa, to up Nigeria’s stake in the growth and development of the country’s travel tourism and hospitality sector with creative ideas and programs.
Side attractions of the event include the exhibition of Nigerian foods, beverages and cuisines from the six geo-political zones of the country by NIHOTOUR, showcasing of foods and cuisines by foreign embassies in Nigeria such as the Peoples Republic of China, Spain, Ethiopia among others, private food vendors and catering outfits. The event also witnessed the unveiling of the state of the art Mobile Training Kitchen produced by NIHOTOUR to upscale the outreach of its hands-on training in cookery and hospitality management.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of certificates and cash prizes to students and schools that participated and won in the Essay Writing competition on tourism organised by NIHOTOUR as part of activities to mark the day in Nigeria.