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Focus on local Naga cuisine
 DIMAPUR, Oct 17 - With the focus on the youth, the North East Network (NEN) Nagaland observed the World Food Day at Chizami in Phek district on Friday to bridge the growing gap between young people and local food systems.

 Keviselhou Mepfhou, programme associate, NEN Resource Centre, Chizami village, said the observance was also an attempt to help the youth understand the significance of local food, rediscover and appreciate traditional recipes, explore and exchange innovative recipes by using local ingredients.

On the occasion, the NEN Nagaland organised a cooking competition for rural youth at the NEN Resource Centre at Chizami under the theme, ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together’.

The event brought together 65 participants, mostly youth members from Chizami and neighbouring villages. Altogether 11 teams from Chizami village, Chizami town, Thetsumi, Enhulumi and Sumi took part in the cooking competition.

The cooking competition comprised two categories – indigenous cooking and innovative. Two films on food were also screened at the event.

An NEN official, Wekowe-u Tsuhah, highlighted the significance of the World Food Day, which is aimed at creating awareness on hunger and healthy lifestyle. Tsuhah urged the youth participants to reflect on their food choices. She asked them if the food they choose is healthy and supports a sustainable food system.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lesson that we can build resilience only if we sustain and strengthen our local food and economic systems,” she added.

Citing the World Food Day theme, Tsuhah exhorted the participants to grow diverse plants to nourish a growing population and sustain the Earth together.

Guest speaker Kekhweu T Mero, in her message, said that “God has blessed us with diverse herbs and seed-bearing trees for food”. “It is our responsibility to take care and sustain them,” she said. Mero voiced concern that many people have abandoned their own agricultural land and are not food secure any more. This is a dangerous trend, she said. Mero stressed that the youth must take the responsibility to reverse this trend by getting involved in growing food.

She shared with the participants the cultural, nutritional and medicinal values of some wild herbs and cultivated crops like millets, perilla, black sesame and corn.

Colo Mero, director, Life Ministries, and advisory member, NEN Nagaland, elaborated on the potential of developing local food business. For this, one has to have passion and develop necessary business skills, he said.

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