Agriculture is the backbone of the Nepalese economy accounting for on average 60% of the Gross Domestic Product. It goes without saying that agriculture is the chief contributor for nutrition for many households.
On a nutritional point of view, Nepal produces various kinds of nutritious foods but the lack of information about their nutritional value has hindered their growth. I believe, food fairs are an important tool and space to promote food sovereignty because it takes place in people’s own land and within their own socio-cultural setting.
In line with providing information about nutrition and market domestically produced foods, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) organized a Food Fair at Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Nepal for two days, June 24th-25th, 2016 with the gates for all given the entry was free.
The program was inaugurated on Friday by the Honorable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture Development, Mr. Haribol Gajurel. In his speech, he mentioned that locally available nutritious food can help reduce nutrition related cases by more than 50 percent. Similarly, the Director General of DFTQC, Mr. Sanjeev Karna said, the consumption of domestically produced nutritious foods has fallen and the dependency on imports is increasing.
There were 78 stalls at the exhibition. Among these, 18 stalls showcased traditional dishes of various ethnic groups, 24 stalls disseminated information about nutritional values and another 24 stalls showcased the products of various domestic factories. YPARD Nepal stall was one of the 24 stalls that disseminated information about nutritional values.
The six YPARD Nepal members- Abhishek, Mina, Suraj, Sandhya, Animesh and myself were directly involved for the management of this event. We translated our promotional materials into Nepali and English languages, with more priority for Nepali language since this was a public event.
We focused more on values of pulses by considering the theme of International Year of Pulses. and included awareness materials about underutilized food crops and food processing methods in Nepal. This was the first experience of YPARD Nepal showcasing to a huge audience which we believe was very successful. In total, we had 165 persons- students of Food technology, students of Agriculture, Food Professionals, agriculturists- who registered on our visitor profile.
Our heartfelt thanks go to Dinesh Panday, the YPARD Nepal representative for his guidance , Dr. Huma Bokkhim, Senior Food Research Officer, DFTQC for providing space at Food Fair and all those who offered a helping hand.