As the nation joins in marking World Food Day, Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, says Nigeria is blessed with varieties of food that can be commericalised for exportation and this would create jobs along the value chain for women and the youth.
Mrs Buhari said this at the opening of the 1st National Food Fair in Abuja organised by the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) in collaboration with the Travel Marketing Partners on Monday.
The Wife of the President said that tackling hunger and poverty in Nigeria was largely dependent on appreciation and promotion of Nigeria food.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said marking the World Food Day with a Food Fair was very apt.
According to him, it reflects the present administration’s commitment to the unity of the country and diversification of the economy through agriculture.
The minister who was represented by Mrs Karima Babangida, Director, Agricultural Extension Services in the Ministry, said that the food fair would help to address the critical issues of women in agriculture.
He said that out of 95 per cent of Small Holder Farmers in Nigeria who actually feed the nation, 70 per cent of them are women.
“These women account for 70 per cent of agricultural labour force, in spite of the challenges of having access to only 20 per cent of productive resources. Women are highly involved in food foraging in the forest, collecting products such as snails, mushrooms, vegetables and spices for native cuisines. This administration fully appreciates and recognises the critical position of women as wives, mothers, home builders, labour force enablers that sustain their homes all year round through their food,’’ he said.
Ogbeh said in recognition of the significant role women played both in nutrition and income generation to improve livelihood in the family, the ministry had mainstreamed gender and nutrition into agricultural policies.
He said that the National Food Fair was geared to encourage Nigerians to eat what we grow and grow what we eat’.
The minister urged participants at the fair to spread the news of cherishing our indigenous food culture and ensure its preservation for the unborn generation.
The National President, NCWS, Mrs Gloria Shoda, said the National Food Fair 2018 was designed to ensure sustainable food security as Nigerians would learn to grow what they eat and eat what they grow.
Shoda said the event was a platform for the public and private stakeholders, producers and consumers to come together to showcase their products.
“This will foster opportunity to deliberate, network and proffer viable and implementable strategies for zero hunger and for the wellbeing of Nigerians,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Mr Shola Ilupeju, Chief Executive Officer, Travel Marketing, said Nigeria was blessed with different food that unite the country and could boost the tourism sector if properly harnessed.
Listing the objective of the National Food Fair, Ilupeju said it was to highlight and promote some of the popular Nigeria dishes from various sections of the country.