The Ministry of Agriculture, on Tuesday, held its Annual Healthy Cook-off, as part of the activities slated for agriculture month. The annual event will highlight dishes featuring Breadfruit, Cassava, and Turmeric as the main ingredients.
Participants from the departments of agriculture, health and education were encouraged to create, innovative and finger-licking dishes that were showcased at the Ministry of Agriculture’s compound, Regent Street
Among the participants eagerly awaiting the judges’ decision was Saskia Tull, a representative, from the Fisheries Department, attached to the Ministry of Agriculture. Hoping to capture the judges tastes buds, her dishes feature several ingredients including cassava, turmeric, custard, honey and spicy chicken. Kepler Lipton, from the Ministry of Agriculture’s head office, said that his team hopes to win this year since their dishes focus on all three of the required ingredients.
Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) Joylyn Nestor-Burrowes said the initiative is expected to foster a better appreciation of local foods among Guyanese, especially as taste, creativity, and innovation are interwoven with the benefits and quality of the products identified.
The Acting PS observed that Guyana is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, suitable climate and various soil types, and a wide variety of food available. It is, for this reason, she emphasized that the country cannot afford to complacent since food security is not limited to availability but also includes access and nutrition.
“Nutrition security is thus not guaranteed especially when the country faces challenges of growing incidence of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Food accessibility and utilization consequently continues to pose major challenges to food security,” she said.
To this end, the administration and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States have collaborated to launch various technical cooperation programmes, in an effort to eradicate some of the challenges of food security.
Mikiko Tanaka, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and Coordinator said the cook-off is a great initiative since it supports the three pillars of the country’s National Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (NFSS) 2011-2020.
“To facilitate sustainable and stable employment-generating opportunities that would increase availability of and accessibility to food, especially among vulnerable groups.
To promote systems (information, education and communication/dissemination) for use and consumption of healthy foods for increased nutrition of all Guyanese and especially vulnerable groups
Promote increased institutional coordination and functioning for improved food and nutrition security”
Recently, the government joined with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) along with Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean 2025, to devise a plan for food and nutrition security and eradication of hunger by 2025 in the region.
It was also highlighted that the country’s School Feeding Programme (SFP) is expected to be strengthened in the framework of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean 2025.
The collaboration is expected to provide support in strengthening the governance framework for food and nutrition security in Guyana which is in support of improving and sustaining food availability, accessibility and proper utilization of food.