The Minister for Chieftaincy and Cultural Affairs, Mr Alex Asum-Ahensah has urged the Home Economics Research Association of Ghana and other Food Research institutions to design innovative ways of preparing attractive recipes for local dishes.
He also called for research into food preservation to make them more attractive to encourage tourists to taste local foods.
Mr Asum-Ahensah was speaking at a food exhibition organised by the Cultural Initiative Support Programme in collaboration with the University of Education, Winneba.
The programme, funded by the European Union was on the theme; “Lesser Used Food Commodities and Endangered Dishes”.
Some of the local dishes on display were cassava biscuits, onion stew, beans soup and coconut soup.
The Minster said Ghana spends US $400 million annually on importation of rice alone and advised Ghanaians to consume local rice to save money for national development.
He also called on Ghanaian establishments to start introducing local dishes at functions to insulate the nation from the global economic crisis.
Mr Asum-Ahensah said the practice where Ghanaians do not patronize local dishes but rather foreign foods, kills local initiatives and industries.
The Programme Coordinator of Cultural Initiative Support Programme, Mr Kwasi Gyan-Appenteng said the European Union has allocated two million Euro grant to his outfit for individuals to undertake activities and initiatives in locally manufactured foods.
He said the exhibition was to add value to local dishes and the need to create the awareness for people to patronize local dishes.
A Lecturer at the Home Economics Department of the University of Education, Prof. Matthew Caurie called for the preservation of the country's cultural heritage.
He reminded Ghanaians of the medicinal and nutritious values of local dishes and called for the documentation of endangered dishes in the Western and Central Regions to prevent them from becoming extinct.
Prof Caurie said the Department was developing food commodities which have not been utilized into new dishes.
Earlier in a welcoming address, the Director of Institutional Advancement of the University, Nana (Dr) Kwaku Owusu Kwarteng on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, reminded Ghanaians to make conscious effort to preserve traditional foods against the onslaught of food from the Western world.