AKWA IBOM THE WORLD: Food Tourism Underway
*As Usen Ndia Festival Gathers Momentum
By Enefiok Ekong
There are strong indications that, the tourism sector of Akwa Ibom is soon to gear into the internationally acclaimed cuisines of the state, as Uyo Food Festival tagged “Usen Ndia” gathers momentum.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong made this known during the unveiling of the fourth edition of “Usen Ndia”, held at the Kings and Queens Nursery School, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo.
Comrade Ini Ememobong said, with the successes so far attained by the Uyo Festival within the past four years, especially in sustainability of the programme and the influx of food vendors participating in the Food fiesta, then Akwa Ibom Food tourism is fast approaching.
Represented by the Director of Public Relations in the Ministry, Mrs. Grace Akpan, the Information helmsman expressed with delight that, with Akwa Ibom Foods attracting international acclaim, there is every likelihood that the rich cuisines of the people are getting set for export with the food tourists the State is being opened up to, through the “Usen Ndia” festival.
He applauded the convener of the “Usen Ndia” festival, Mrs Patricia Essien for promoting the food potentials of Akwa Ibom people adding that, the initiative has not only contributed to boosting the tourism potentials of the state but has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurial development amongst those with culinary skills.
Emphasising that the vision of “Usen Ndia” keys into the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s agenda for tourism and entrepreneurial development, Comrade Ini Ememobong congratulated all the Food vendors for stamping out their brands boldly at the fiesta and urged interested members of the public to see the development as a ready opening and a great opportunity to key into.
Recalling that, rich age-old foods of Akwa Ibom people such as: “asa-iwa”, “asa-akpakpa” and “oto-mboro”, among others, have fast been in extinction, nolonger in home menus, the Commissioner for Information expressed the hope that, the “Usen Ndia” festival will revive our ageold cuisines for the benefit of the younger generations Akwa Ibom people and for export.
Speaking the organiser of the Uyo Food Festival, Mrs Patricia Essien, expressed appreciation to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong and other government functionaries for finding time to grace the Food fiesta.
The event was climaxed with a Maggi cooking competition organised by Nestlé Food the official sponsor of “Usen Ndia” with three Chefs emerging as winners. The winners included: Samuel Udoma, overall best cook, carting home a Scanfrost Microwave oven. Second place Prize went to a female chef, Emediong Morris, who went home with a Table-top Gas cooker while the third place prize went to Archibong Okon, who smiled home with a blender.
Other activities at the festival were: food exhibitions, eating competition, games, musical/ comedy performances.
Present at the event were: the State Commissioner for Environment and Soild Minerals, Sir Charles Udoh, Special Assistants to the Governor on ICT and Mobilisation, Mr. Solomon Eyo and Felix Ekuri respectively as well as a renowned Akwa Ibom-born Movie producer, Aniebiet Francis, among others.