The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has called for concerted efforts at improving the Nigerian food and cuisine production processes.
Mohammed, who made the call at the occasion of the World Gastronomy Day celebration in Abuja, organised by the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) in collaboration with the Embassy of The Peoples Republic of China and the Arts and Culture Department of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), recently, noted that Nigeria has culture as its tourism competitive advantage which is mostly defined by its foods and cuisines.
According to a statement, the Minister who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, also called for the Nigerian tourism industry to seize the opportunity offered by gastronomy which has become a major tourist pull-factor to enhance the country's portfolio as a preferred tourist destination in Africa.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Owelle Rochas Okorocha said food, as one of the three basic needs of man, should be accorded priority attention in nation building for the care, wellbeing and healthy living condition of the people.
Okorocha who applauded efforts of NIHOTOUR in organising the first observance of the United Nations World Gastronomy Day in Nigeria since its inception in 2017 globally, promised to initiate the establishment of a Food Technology training outfit as part of the Institute's training mandate in hospitality.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, the initiator of the World Gastronomy Observance Day in Nigeria, said the country needs to strategically conceptualise its tourist products to attract continued traffic of both domestic and international tourists for sustainable growth of the Nigerian tourism industry in line with the federal government's economic diversification efforts.
Kangiwa, who called for investment in the gastronomy sub sector, said its multiplier effect and social value chains as a thriving industry will help eradicate poverty and improvement in rural infrastructure, adding that NIHOTOUR will continue to offer Courses for the development of Nigerian unique tourism products and competitive destination management to enhance the human capacity base of the country's travel tourism and hospitality industry.