Food Tourism Supports Local Economies, Promotes Sustainable Tourism, Evokes A Sense of Community – Gov. Diri’s SSA on Tourism

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism and Facilitator of the South-South Tourism Roundtable Initiative, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has called on the Ijaw nation to trace and document its food culture, adding that food tourism supports local economies as well as as promotes responsible tourism practices, just as food evokes a sense of community and pleasant memories of one’s childhood.

In a statement issued on Monday in commemoration of this year’s World Food Day with the theme: “History, And Everything You Need To Know” in Yenagoa, Dr. Kiyaramo who doubles as Director-General of the Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre Yenagoa, noted that food, being part of the rich Ijaw cultural heritage is usually shared within and between communities, while adapting to changing circumstances in the local setting.

“The development of food culture can help a tourist destination draw new visitors. Since food often reflects an entire nation’s eating habits, culinary tourism can teach visitors valuable cultural lessons. Food tourism can also be a way to support local economies and promote sustainable tourism. By patronizing local restaurants and food producers, travellers can contribute to the local economy and help preserve culinary traditions, “he said.

Dr. Kiyaramo said sharing meals with others could bring people together, promote socialization, and foster a sense of belonging, pointing out that whether it is a family gathering, a community feast, or a religious celebration, food is often used as a way to mark important events, bringing people together, which creates the sense of community among people.

According to the governor’s aide, sometimes locaĺ food may carry related culinary practices such as the use of chopsticks and among others with existing culinary traditions to form new syncretic cuisines such like that of the Tex-Mex food, a subtype of Southwestern cuisine found in the American Southwest, which evolved from a combination of Mexican and US Southwest food traditions.

Dr. Kiyaramo maintained that although food culture is adaptable, food is tightly linked to people’s cultural identities, or the ways they define and distinguish themselves from other groups of people, informing that food also travels across cultures perhaps more often and with more ease than any other traditions.

While commending the President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) Professor Benjamin Okaba for inaugurating a committee on culture, chaired by the chief historian and Achivist of Bayelsa State, Dr. Stephen Olali recently, he reiterated that food is part of cultural identity, explaining further that the term cuisine has been used to refer to specific cultural traditions of cooking, preparation, and consumption of food.

He informed that while the urban areas may tend to shift and adapt cuisine more frequently than rural communities, those aspects of cuisine most tightly linked to the people’s identity tend to change slowly in all settings as also applicable to the Ijaw nation.

The SSA on Tourism said there is urgent need for the Ijaw nation to make frantic efforts to sustain her food culture with a view to properly documenting and preserving it for posterity, citing the Japanese short-grain rice which plays an important role in Japanese identity.

Dr. Kiyaramo said a food culture where a plate of food containing white rice on one half and a stew with chunks of beef, potatoes, and carrots on the other half which originated from the cultural heritage of a particular food culture has today spread round the world.

World Food Day is observed annually on October 16 every year. It is celebrated with the aim of shedding light on the millions of people globally who lack the means to afford a nutritious diet and the crucial necessity of consistent access to wholesome food.

World Food Day provides a platform for advocating actions to combat worldwide hunger, enhance accessibility to nourishing food, endorse sustainable agricultural practices, emphasize the need to minimize food wastage, and underscore the importance of eradicating malnutrition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top