Participants and exhibitors have described the just concluded 3-day Amala Fiesta organized by the Oyo State government in glowing terms, for the opportunity to promote the local food culture and specifically showcase the benefits of Amala and other related agricultural produce.
They described the Amala fiesta which was themed ‘From the Farm to the Table’ as a fascinating event which the State government used to add value to the agricultural chain.
The Participants said that the government, through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism should be applauded for the food tourism initiative with attendant multiple beneficiaries including farmers, food vendors, research institutes, corporate organizations, artisans, traders and the general public.
The participants and exhibitors were representatives from Canteen Workers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State Chapter; International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, (IITA); Tourist Care and Hospitality Association of Nigeria (TCHAN); All Women Farmers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter. There were also representatives from Iseyin, Akinyele, Ibadan North, Ibadan South East local governments and Oyo State Cocoa Development Unit.
They encouraged members of the public to consume less of chemically produced foods and urged them to take more of natural foods, stressing that natural foods are more nutritious than chemically processed foods.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the fiesta at the weekend, the Director General of IITA, Nteranya Sanginga, said that the Oyo State government has helped to showcase what IITA has been researching on. He added that the government should be commended for the opportunity given to the exhibitors and farmers to showcase the output of their research and efforts.
According to the DG who was represented by the Head, Food and Nutrition Laboratory of the Institute, Mr. Nwaoline Gregory:
“In IITA, we want food security for the country. The programme has helped to bring out what we have been researching on in IITA. People were surprised that we can make biscuit, chin chin and other snacks from cassava. If not for the Amala fiesta, we might not have had the opportunity to reach so many people at this particular period.
“IITA is ready for capacity building for women and youths and we will continue to give our support to farmers in the state and the country as a whole. We thank the Oyo State government for organizing this programme”,
Also, the President of the Canteen Workers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State Chapter, Mrs. Amdalat Iyadunni Lawal said that the government should be praised for helping them to promote their trade by espousing the benefits of Amala through the event,
She said: “When we were approached, we were not keen about the programme. It was during the unveiling of the logo that we realized that the state government is committed to the event. When we saw people on tie eating Amala with relish and we were really amazed when some of them requested for additional helpings.”
While thanking the state government for its support to women in agriculture in the state, the President, All Women Farmers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Mrs. Arinola Aderibigbe called for more support and empowerment for farmers in order to have massive production of agricultural produce by women who are actively involved in agriculture.
In its remarks at the closing ceremony, the state government assured participants, partners, exhibitors and members of the public of its continued support to the development of the agricultural sector in the state. The government noted that it has put necessary machinery in place for farmers in the state to produce agricultural products in larger quantities.
The State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, who spoke through the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju noted that the state government has never treated issues relating to the Agricultural Sector of the State in the state with levity, and does not intend to.
He consequently encouraged farmers to partake in its empowerment programmes, such as Agric-Oyo.
“I want to assure participants at this fiesta, that the government is taking agriculture seriously. We are very aware of the importance of farmers in the society that is why the government brought about this initiative called Agric-Oyo, which has empowered farmers across the state”.
In closing the Amala Fiesta, he said: “Let me appreciate those who made this event a success, you have contributed immensely to government’s dream in promoting our local delicacy and make it more acceptable both locally and internationally.
“Through your support and participation, the government has fulfilled the important roles of promoting our food culture and boosting the economy of the state through job creation,” Arulogun emphasized.
Highlights at the grand finale of the Amala events, included a presentation of gifts to the Chairperson, Association of Canteen Owners, Oyo State branch, Mrs. Amdalat Iyadunni Lawal for her contribution to the success of the event and also to the winners in the Food Vendors Category and Exhibitors category.
Omolayo Food Canteen clinched the first position in the Food vendors’ category, while Iseyin Local Government Farmers Association walked away with the first prize in the Exhibitors Category.