By Taiye Olayem
Lagos – Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, the Director General of Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, on Tuesday said that the state was committed to projecting and marketing pounded-yam for international recognition and patronage.Ojo-Lanre disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said pounded-yam was a major local cuisine associated with the people of Ekiti State and the state was consciously taking steps to ensure international tourists always look forward to consuming the cuisine.
According to him, the state council visited Hungary and some other foreign countries where pounded-yam was prepared using the local mortar and pestle and there were huge interest from foreigners.
He said that the state would continue to educate foreigners on Ekiti culture, especially the preparation of pounded-yam to further project the state as a tourist hub.“Pounded-yam is our cultural cuisine brand in Ekiti State; it means a lot to us and we are committed to projecting it for international recognition and patronage.
“We have been to like three countries to market this precious brand of ours and we received positive feedback.“We will continue this until we are able to have pounded-yam centres in theforeign countries just like we have Chinese restaurants all around us here in the country,” he said.
The director general said that the council was also exporting mortars and pestles used in the preparation of pounded-yam against the innovative yam pounder machines.” We want to ensure people gain access to pounded-yam across the globe” We are also exporting the mortar and pestles used for it’s preparation in order to preserve and maintain our culture; we are proud of it.”
The Americans and Chinese have not allowed any aspect of their culture and tradition to be eroded, so we should not allow ours to slip through our fingers,” he said.Ojo-Lanre said it was high time Nigerians saw culture and arts beyond being fetish or devilish, they are means of wealth creation for individuals and revenue generation for the country.
He urged Nigerians to explore the culture and art industries as the creative economies to create jobs and get empowered for wealth creation.” Our culture and arts should not be seen as barbaric, fetish or devilish, but we should try to create employment and revenue from them,” he said.