NEPC concludes plans to promote Nigerian foods aboard

Olusegun Awolowo,

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has intensified its efforts to promote Nigerian cuisines in restaurants in key commercial centres of the world, according to an official.

Its Executive Director, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, told the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the council had met with stakeholders in those restaurants.

He said that the last leg of the meeting would be finalised in London and Houston.

He said the Nigeria Diaspora Export Programme was conceived by the council to track and use Nigerians in the Diaspora to leverage on them as the first export destination for the country’s goods.

“In the UK, we have more than two million Nigerians living there; they are importers of many Nigerian products particularly food products. So we see no reason why we cannot sell our foods abroad.

“What we have before is suit case exporters taking goods to Europe, some for sale, some for personal use. But that is not enough.

“Houston and London have been selected because of the high concentration of Nigerians in both cities,’’ Awolowo said.

He said the programme would create a platform to enable quick and easy penetration of products and services of Nigerian origin into the global market.

The director said it would also involve the promotion of a “standard menu” for all Nigerian restaurants in different parts of the world.

He said the first leg was Nigerian citizens abroad, explaining that there will be a warehouse where Nigerian products would be stored for people to purchase.

Awolowo said the idea would be possible in UK and Europe because of their good infrastructure and transportation system.

“Once the products are moved to one port, they can be moved everywhere,’’ he said.

He also said that Nigeria would have heritage sites in London, Houston and Atlanta.

“The Nigerian Heritage City is expected to host warehouses, Nigerian foodstuffs market, arts and crafts galleries.

“It will also host restaurants, solid minerals market, event centres, commodity exchanges, banks and financial services, recording and training studios for Hollywood and creative artistes, among other facilities,’’ he said.

Awolowo said the programme would be done through the private sector.

He added that to achieve the vision, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs, had been selected as the champion to co-host the Nigerians in the Diaspora. (NAN)