ADDIS ABABA – November 19, 2023 – (NIPN/EPHI) – The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) opened a one-day food exhibition and photo gallery on Thursday, November 16, 2023, with the aim of showcasing the remarkable endeavors undertaken by various sectors within the Ministry and its partners to enhance food quality and promote nutrition.
Present on the occasion were State Minister of the Livestock and Fishery Development Sector, Dr. Fikru Regasa, as well as the heads of various sectors within the Ministry, along with representatives from different partner organizations.
The exhibition, organized with the theme 'Sustainable Agri-food System for a Healthy and Nutritious Diet,' aims to showcase the concerted efforts made by the Ministry and its partners to enhance the availability and accessibility of food and ensure food and nutrition security. It was coordinated by the Food and Nutrition Office of the MoA.
At the exhibition, various sectors of the MoA and partner organizations, including Alliance 2015, UNICEF, and Save the Children, showcased an array of relatively affordable and nutritious foods. These foods encompassed a combination of cereals, legumes, nuts and oil seeds, milk and dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, fats and oils. Among the exhibited items were Haricot Beans, Mung Beans, Salad Soup, Chicken Meat/Balls, Beef Meat/Balls, Soybean Cheese, and Pearl Millet.
According to the organizers, each of these food items offers different nutritional benefits and can be incorporated into a balanced diet to provide essential nutrients.
Opening the exhibition, Dr. Fikru Regassa emphasized that the primary objective of the MoA is to ensure that food and nutrition security is guaranteed as a fundamental human and democratic right of all citizens. In order to achieve this goal, the MoA prioritizes the provision of diverse, nutritious, and safe food choices while also striving to create a healthy and accessible environment that specifically addresses the needs of farmers and their families.
Dr. Fikru stated that, to address the issue of food and nutrition scarcity, one of the measures being implemented is the promotion and implementation of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, aimed at producing nutrient-dense food. Additionally, efforts are being made to improve the reach and accessibility of these food resources. He explained that according to the Ethiopian Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (EBDGs), it is recommended for individuals to include four out of the six food groups on their plate during each meal and to consume a total of six meals throughout the day.
Dr. Namukolo Covic, ILRI Director General's Representative to Ethiopia, stated that the agricultural sector must fulfill its role in providing nutrient-dense food throughout the entire food system, from production to consumption. She explained that food production should aim to provide healthy and nutritious diets. Additionally, it is important to educate people about consumption patterns, nutrition education, and nutrition awareness.
After the formal opening speeches, Alemtsehay Sargawi, Head of the Food and Nutrition Office, delivered a presentation. The presentation highlighted the collective efforts of the Ministry and its partners in enhancing both the quantity and quality of food production.
In her presentation, she expressed her gratitude for the technical and financial support extended by EPHI/NIPN Ethiopia and other partnering organizations. It is worth noting that the Food and Nutrition Office is currently receiving assistance from a senior expert seconded by NIPN Ethiopia.
The conclusion of the official opening ceremony was followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony, led by State Minister Dr. Fikru Regassa, in the presence of MoA officials and representatives from partner organizations. This activity marked the commencement of the exhibition, where wide arrays of food items were exhibited. Alongside the food displays, research findings pertaining to forest seeds were also highlighted.
The visitors moved through different booths, taking the opportunity to explore the various displays and receiving informative briefings from the exhibitors.
Meanwhile, EPHI/NIPN Ethiopia was one of the exhibitors, securing a fitting and strategically located booth to showcase a roll-up banner, brochures, and policy briefs. A senior staff member from EPHI/NIPN Ethiopia adeptly elucidated the organization's core objectives and its significance to the visitors. The visitors showed great interest in the displayed print materials, eagerly taking them.
The culmination of the exhibits was marked by an enticing food tasting program. The program featured a delightful array of dishes meticulously crafted from a diverse selection of ingredients. The focus was not only on tantalizing flavors but also on demonstrating how nutritious and wholesome meals can be prepared using affordable foodstuffs. Far more than a mere tasting experience, the food tasting program transformed into a full-fledged lunch affair, treating each and every visitor to a memorable and satisfying gastronomic journey. (NIPN/EPHI)