After Afrobeat and Nollywood, plant-based food is the next cultural hit from Nigeria
16 May 2023
New ProVeg Nigeria office to usher in plant-based lifestyle into Nigerian hospitals, schools, markets, and kitchens country-wide.
A new organisation has been launched in Nigeria today called ProVeg Nigeria, which aims to promote healthy and tasty food that is both climate and animal-friendly. ProVeg Nigeria is part of global food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, which has 10 other offices around the world aimed at reducing global animal consumption by 50% by 2040.
Hakeem Jimo has been the driving force behind the opening of ProVeg Nigeria. A vegan entrepreneur and co-founder of Nigeria’s first vegan restaurant, he sees great potential to increase plant-based diets in his home country.
“It’s all about the numbers. Nigeria is set to become the world’s third most populous country in the next couple decades,” said Jimo, who is ProVeg Nigeria’s new Country Director. “But time is not on our side. To truly address climate change and health epidemics, we need to shift our diets today,” Jimo added. “That’s why the team and I are thrilled to be launching the ProVeg Nigeria operation. We can take our work to a whole new level and expand our reach and impact.”
Under its previous banner of Lagos Veg Fest, which, following its massive popularity, was renamed Naija Veg to expand its work across the country, Hakeem and his team developed various programmes and campaigns to help spread awareness about the need for, and benefits of, plant-based diets. Their work includes working with hospitals, clinics, and medical professionals to incorporate plant-based offerings across institutions that promote better health. “Health has been a key motivator for people here in changing their diets,” explains Jimo.
Taste is also an important factor.
“Getting people to try out their favourite dishes using plant-based ingredients is key. Once
they see how tasty it can be, they are more open to hearing about how important plant-based diets are for their health, and for the planet.” Chef Bola Adeyanju, Programme Manager for ProVeg Nigeria, said.
And so, the team has taken to the streets, offering food tastings at universities and busy market places. Adeyanju, plant-based chef, entrepreneur, and an Ambassador for Chefs for Change, is passionate about the richness of plants and African cuisine. “I love being able to share with my fellow Nigerians just how easy and delicious plant-based versions of their favourite dishes can be.”
Jimo and Bola are joined by Marybeth Ubanwa, Campaign and Communications Manager for ProVeg Nigeria, and self-proclaimed plant-based crusader. With a degree in International Law and Diplomacy, and a postgraduate certificate in Technology and Management, Marybeth draws on her analytical skills to grow ProVeg Nigeria’s growth and reach in its mission to support the food system transformation that is desperately needed to tackle climate change.
“The impact we have in Lagos, and in Nigeria, can easily be extended across the continent, and to lovers of African cuisine worldwide.” Ubanwa said.
Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of ProVeg International, welcomed ProVeg Nigeria to the fold. “We are thrilled to have the new ProVeg team affecting real change in promoting more sustainable diets across Nigeria,” she said.
Notes to Editors
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About ProVeg International
ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.