NEPC To Promote Nigerian Foods At International Markets
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has declared its readiness to make Nigerian foods attractive through rebranding and make them to compete with foods from other countries in the global market.
Speaking during a one-day sensitisation programme for exporters of the ‘Nigeria Cuisine Beyond Border (NCBB)’ in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Executive Director of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said the initiative is part of the effort to intensify and increase the contribution of the non-oil export sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Awolowo, represented by the Deputy Director, International Export Office of NEPC, Mr lliya Yaro, observed that identifying with different popular ethnic dishes in various states would help to boost exports to compete with branded restaurants like Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian and Ethiopian already gaining grounds in the global market.
He expressed hope that the country would compete with branded restaurants like Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian and Ethiopian who had gain currency in the global market.
“The Nigeria Cuisine Beyond Border (NCBB) concept is to set up world-class and unified standard for Nigerian cuisines across the world. The cuisine is expected to taste like accredited restaurants across the globe. These restaurants are expected to compete with other branded restaurants like Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian and Ethiopian that are well known in the global markets.
“Nigerian cuisine recently trended on the international scene when Victoria’s Kitchen in the USA prepared Nigerian egusi soup with fufu.
“The Tiktok/Instagram videos went viral and drew the attention of the world to some Nigerian cuisines and it is interesting to note that the appraisal was mostly positive,” he said.
The NEPC chief executive however said that to achieve the goal, the council must partner with all stakeholders in the hotel and restaurant business and key agencies in the food and beverage sector in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
Also speaking, Deputy Director and Trade Promotion Advisor of NEPC, Mrs Pauline Ndulaka, commended the the International Export Department of the organisation in Abuja for setting up the programme to engage stakeholders in the hospitality industry about the next phase of non-oil export.
She said “a good number of Nigerians in the Diaspora have been yearning for Nigerian ethnic foods, especially since the breakdown of the pandemic,” adding, if for instance, local dishes in Akwa Ibom State are identified and developed, they would boost exports of the products from the state.
She maintained that the initiative, aimed at rebounding and supplanting the existing oil economy with a more sustainable zero oil plan, is part of the efforts to achieve the national Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Dr Glory Edet, commended NEPC for the drive towards boosting the GDP of the country through agriculture.
Edet, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mary Bassey, pledged to support and partner with the council towards the the actualisation of the initiative in the state, adding that the state was on a robust drive in promoting agriculture and making foods available for its citizens.
Speaking on “Leveraging the Diaspora to promote Nigerian Cuisine” Mr John Osonuwa, a consultant on organic agriculture and environmental matters, admonished NEPC to be strategic and smart in choosing the local dishes to be exported abroad.
He said, with the initiative, the country would go beyond the $20 billion annual diaspora remittance and that both rural farmers and commercial agriculturalists would make big gains from the initiative after implementation.
He added, however that standard and quality must be upheld while complying with laws and regulations in ooeration abroad.