The CDSF office in Tigray, in collaboration with CASCAPE Nutrition and Gender (CANAG), Mekele University capacity building for scaling up of evidence-based best practices in Ethiopia (CASCAPE), Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development (TBoARD) and other partners working on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) in the region organized a two-day food fair event from June 14-15, in Korem town, Ofla Woreda, Southern Zone of Tigray. Other stakeholders who collaborated in organizing the food fair included: Relief Society of Tigray (REST), Alive and Thrive, Seqota Declaration, Sweet Potatoes Innovation Platform (SIP), Tigray Women’s Affairs Bureau and GIZ.
The two-day food fair event was held in support of the World Bank-administered Agriteam Canada Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Consultancy (NSAC) which is directly supported by the European Union through the multi-donor trust fund for the Second Agricultural Growth Program (AGP2).
On the first day, 239 women and 107 men attended the event with 261 women and 224 men attending on the second day of the event. The organizers deemed that the 2-day event was successful as more than eight hundred people participated.
Participants of the food fair included: Department heads and experts from TBoARD, representatives of women’s affairs offices, NSA partners; representatives of Tigray southern zone administration agriculture and women affairs; farmers, kebele development agents (DAs), community health education workers, model farmers, water resource kebele level supervisors, woreda health personnel, government media professionals, Common Interest Group (CIG) leaders and members, unions as well as individual producers
Opening the first day of the event, Reda Libelo, Ofla Woreda Administrator said: “Although Ofla Woreda is endowed with suitable climate and soil for the growth of plant and animal-based food sources, people in the woredas are not aware of the advantages of consuming balanced diet. In this regard, organizing such a food fair in our woreda is a great opportunity for us to learn and change our attitude towards dietary diversity.”
Gebre Hailegzi, CDSF Tigray Region NSA Capacity Development Specialist, explained the purpose of the food fair. According to Gebre, the purpose of the food fair was to promote the value of dietary diversity considering locally and widely produced but rarely consumed agricultural products. The food fair also aimed to enhance the knowledge and skills of DAs, health extension workers and enable them to bring about social and behavioral change regarding dietary diversity.
Menbere Birhane, Ofla Woreda Agriculture and Livestock Team Leader made a presentation on the importance of nutrition, the linkage between agriculture and nutrition, and how to meet dietary diversity.
Following the presentations, the Ashenge Youth Musical Band staged a musical show as well as a short educational and entertainment drama. The drama showed the importance of balanced diet for growth and development, and how families who are aware of the value of consuming balanced diet can be instrumental in changing the consumption habit of their neighbors. The drama also highlighted the importance of men’s involvement in nutrition activities at households.
Participants then left the meeting hall in groups and visited the food exhibition stalls where different types of locally available foods were displayed outside of the hall. Organizers briefed the visitors about the value of the six food groups, namely cereals, pulses, livestock products, vegetables, fruits and fats. Participants were encouraged to taste foods from the six different food groups
Returning to the hall, organizers and participants alike discussed about issues, such as, opportunities and challenges in the woreda regarding dietary diversity.
At the beginning of the second day of the food fair, Dr Atinkut Mezgebu, regional BoARD head appreciated organizers for organizing the food fair in the Woreda and urged participants to create awareness among the community about the importance of consuming diversified foods.
Tigray Regional BoARD awarded a certificate of cooperation to organizers of the food fair and to those who contributed to the success of the food fair event.