By Fortune Abang
The People’s Republic of China on Friday praised the Sino-Nigerian culture and civilization for having contributed to the sustainable development of the world.
Chinese Ambassador-designate to Nigeria Cui Jianchun said this in his speech during the celebration of Sustainable Food Day (SGD) held in Abuja.
Jianchun, represented by Mr. Li Xuda, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, defined gastronomy as the practice or art of choosing, cooking and eating well.
The event was organized by the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
Li said, “As some of us know, in 2016, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 18 as the international celebration of the SGD.
“It is truly a great decision which recognizes gastronomy as a cultural expression linked to the natural and cultural diversity of the world.
“It reminds us that all cultures and civilizations, including the cultures and civilizations of China and Nigeria, contribute to the sustainable development of the world.
“China and Nigeria have similarities in many areas including food, Nigerians still take pride in their culinary culture, and Nigerian cuisine dates back to 9,000 years of African tradition.
“I believe that our food culture will be better developed and the standard of living of our peoples will improve further and that the sustainable development of our two countries will be greatly encouraged.”
Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, praised the SGD initiative to connect people, planet and profit.
According to her, in the global tourism industry, gastronomy has become a major factor of tourist attraction and largely defines some of the attractions inherent in a tourist destination.
Anyanwutaku said, “For us in Nigeria, culture is our competitive tourism advantage, most of which is identified by Nigerian cuisines and their preparation methods.
“Sustainable gastronomy is therefore a call to action for us to improve our food and kitchen production processes without compromising the ability of future generations to access quality food.
“With over 300 ethnic groups and their corresponding unique cuisines, Nigeria has enormous potential to become Africa’s food tourism mecca.
“To this end, the Federal Government recognizes the essential roles that sustainable gastronomy can play in the development of tourism in Nigeria, in line with its efforts to reduce mass poverty and youth unrest. “
For his part, Senator Rochas Okorocha, lawmaker representing the Senate district of Imo-West, stressed that food, clothing, housing and education are four basic necessities of life, which enhance the culture of people.
He mentioned that brainstorming SGD has become the key to making people more aware of the importance of eating a balanced diet to promote nation building.
“In Nigeria we don’t eat well, 90 percent of the population of our country does not eat well.
“We must use this day to educate our children about what food means and what good food means; in Nigeria we take carbohydrates, garri in the morning and then change it to pounded yam.
“This is why the sugar disease is on the increase, you are what you eat; and two things are essential, if you eat well and stay in a good environment, you cannot be sick, ”Okorocha said.
The highlight of the event was the exhibition of Nigerian and Chinese cuisine as well as the exhibition of traditional dances.