HarvestPlus’ Nutritious Food Fair holds in Enugu, sets to create 3,000 jobs

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All is now set for the 2017 edition of the Nutritious Food Fair (NFF), an annual event of the HarvestPlus Nigeria.

The Nutritious Food Fair with the theme, “Scaling up the Nutritious Food Choices: Engaging Everyone, Everywhere” seeks to create 3,000 jobs in the nutritious food value chain.

The event which was hosted by Abuja and Calabar in 2015 and 2016 respectively is to be held at the Michael Okpara Square between the 28th and 30th November, 2017.

The fair which recorded minimum of 3,000 participants in the two previous editions is expected to record about 15,000 participants in this year’s edition owing to a number of factors, one of which is the level of awareness in the Southeast region.

Also, a lot of activities had been lined up within the fair such as panel discussions, seminars, workshops as well as exhibitions by over 150 different companies in the nutrition value chain ranging from those in the food processing, the farmers , sales, distribution, marketing among others.

Speaking on the activities lined up for the fair, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr. Fidelis Duker noted that a quiz component for the youngsters aimed at catching them young and to get them more involved academically had been factored into the event.

Duker pointed out that the quiz competition which has a national outlook debuted in Abuja with a school from Makurdi, Benue State winning the competition while St. Patricks’ College, Calabar won the 2016 edition adding that a total of 16 schools were to compete for this year’s national quiz competition at Enugu.

He disclosed that the quiz would compose of basic sciences like Physics, Chemistry, Biology and some elements of Mathematics saying that the kids to compete were supposed to be in their final year about to write their NECO, GCE or JAMB even as he said that the competition is free.

“The entire fair is free. Basically, we run that quiz competition annually where these kids compete and of course, from next week, on the 14th, the prelims will start in Enugu, where we have the preliminaries within the senatorial districts, where the schools in Enugu will emerge, while the national competitions are going on in different states. As I speak to you, other states have done their prelims and we have gotten the states apart from the ones in Enugu.

“Also we know that it is not also possible to have event of that magnitude with that number of people without entertainment, that is where you see the angle of Nollywood, the comedy industry, the music industry is involved too. There is element of entertainment every evening where people also have to relax after going through all the seminars and workshops”, he said.

The Planning Committee Chairman further said that the fair would afford the participants the opportunity of getting involved in the business as hi-tech equipment would be on display adding that there would also be a cooking competition where different Chefs would come in to also cook delicious food.

“So, part of the uniqueness of this year’s fair is that we are having the biggest nutritious food, it is going to be as big as three or five times this room. It will be done by over 200 women, they will prepare it and of course, we are expecting the Guinness Book of Records to come and see the biggest delicious food in the world. That is part of the ‘entertainment’ angle of the fair, it will be at the middle of the Okpara Square on the third day of the fair and of course, two or three cows will be killed to consume that food”, he added.

On his part, the Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, Dr. Paul Ilona stated that his organization having identified the need to put the nutritious food sector on a platform that was business driven and sustainable, agreed that one way to do this was to come up with a food fair.

Ilona maintained that the Nutritious Food Fair provided a platform that enabled everyone including the media to come and chart a new way of addressing micronutrients malnutrition in Nigeria.

He said,”So, we need to help ourselves and help Nigeria to come to the point where our human capacity development is much more responsive and that can only happen if we improve quality of the food we eat.

“So, like my good brother said, it will be a beehive of activities and we shall all work together to launch a national smart mother platform and the major thing for all of us here is that we cannot stop malnutrition in Nigeria if we don’t invest in women. We must invest in women, we must give them a voice so as to stop malnutrition in Nigeria”.

Photo: (L-R) The Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, Dr. Paul Ilona and the Chairman, Nutricious Food Fair Planning Committee, Mr. Fidelis Duker during a press conference in Lagos, yesterday.

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