The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has promised to make Nigerian cuisines of international standard to make it competitive at the global market.
The Executive Director of the council, Olusegun Awolowo, said this at a one-day sensitisation programme for exporters on: “Nigerian Cuisines Beyond Border,” organised by the council in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Thursday.
Awolowo, represented by the Deputy Director, International Export Office of NEPC, Iliya Yaro, expressed the hope that Nigeria would compete with branded restaurants like Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian and Ethiopian in the global market.
He said the initiative was part of efforts to intensify the contribution of non-oil export sector to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria.
He said different popular ethnic dishes in various states of the federation would help boost export of its ingredients.
Awolowo said: “The Nigeria Cuisine Beyond Border concept is to set up world class and unified standard for Nigerian cuisine across the world.
“The cuisine is expected to taste accredited restaurants across the globe.
“These restaurants are expected to compete with other branded restaurants like Chinese, India, Japanese, Malaysian and Ethiopian that are well known in the global market.
“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.”
Awolowo said to achieve the goal, the agency would partner with all stakeholders in the hotel and restaurant business and key agencies in the Food and Beverage sector in Nigeria and in Diaspora.
In her remarks, the Deputy Director and Trade Promotion Advisor of NEPC, Pauline Ndulaka, commended the International Export Department for setting up the programme to engage stakeholders in hospitality industry on the next phase for non-oil export.
Ndulaka said: “A good number of Nigerians in Diaspora have been yearning for Nigerian ethnic foods, especially since the outbreak of the pandemic.
“If local dishes in Akwa Ibom State are identified and developed, it will boost export of the products from the state.”
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency in Akwa Ibom State, 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 agency towards the actualisation of the initiative in the state.
She said the state was on a robust drive to promote agriculture and making foods available for its citizens.