Peter Uzoho and Ayodeji Ake
The International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) Nigeria, recently brought cake bakers, sugar artists, manufacturers and dealers of cake products, buyers, cake lovers, and enthusiasts, from Nigeria and other parts of Africa to the 10th Anniversary of the Nigerian Cake Expo.
Held between October 3 and 4, 2018 in Lagos, the occasion offered the attendees ample opportunity to meet people from different locations and savour lovely cakes.
The cake galleries were replete with various kinds and sizes of cake made by the known and upcoming cake professionals.
There were masterclasses and seminars, where new entrants in the industry were taught and inspired to enable them grow in the business.
There were equally discussions and knowledge sharing sessions about new trends in the industry, the challenges, and ideas for the way forward.
Speaking at the event, the Country Representative ICES Nigeria, Mrs. Susan Ogunbayode, explained that the programme was not only for celebration, but also an avenue to assemble sugar professionals across the country and beyond to share professional ideas.
Ogunbayode said the programme’s activities also included training and contribution of funds to help indigent women as part of ICES’ corporate social responsibility.
She said: “We are celebrating sugar. It’s a national thing and here we have delegates. Aside the celebration, we also have a competition among the states. These help us to reach out to other people. We also have a corporate social responsibility we carry out called the ‘Purple Ball’ where we raise funds for indigent women.
“We organise a dinner where members contribute money through auctioning cakes. The monies we gain from it are always used in training women and setting them up in business. All these things are from our pockets; we are an NGO, nobody gives us money.”
Commenting on the event, the pioneer Country Representative, ICES Nigeria, Mrs. Nnenna Nkwocha, said the dream conceived ten years ago was to see sugar professionals come together to teach and share ideas, noting that that dream has come through.
Also, Communication Director, ICES Nigeria, Mrs. Amanda Sam-Wobo, called on the government to partner the organisation in order to empower Nigerian women and liberate them from poverty through cake business.
According to Sam-Wobo, ICES has over the years shouldered the responsibility of training women and empowering them financially, stressing that it would be a great advantage if the government partnered with the industry.
“We want the government to partner and support us to empower women because we can’t do it alone. Although we have been partnering with the media to help us create more awareness to get more women informed of this opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Lola Akande, commended the organisers for putting up such a beautiful expo.
Akande, who was represented at the occasion by Mrs. Funmi Obajimi, pledged the ministry’s support for the cake body and the industry at large.
She said: “I appreciate the organisers of this programme. It’s an important event to be done annually. Cake has become a symbol of celebration and happiness. I want to encourage you to put more effort to your work. If your work is good you will get patronage.”