Cassava bread to hit the streets soon --- Adesina
October 16, 2012 17:22
Abuja, Oct.16, 2012 (NAN) Cassava bread would soon be in adequate supply, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adesina said at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that his optimism was based on the fact that government, in collaboration with the private sector, had started the training of master bakers to make them use the composite cassava flour.
The training is being carried out with support from the Cassava Bread Development Fund provided by the Federal Government.
Adesina said the challenge of local production of enzymes needed to make the cassava flour more attractive was also being addressed as a Nigerian company was working with a South African counterpart to produce the enzyme locally.
Nigeria currently imports the enzyme from South Africa.
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``On the use of enzymes, you need to add what they call cassava enhancers to make the bread to rise and that is produced in South Africa and we’ve been importing it from South Africa.
``But we have put in place a plan; we are working right now with a company in Nigeria that is working with the South African company to produce the enzymes locally which means we are creating new jobs by doing that here for ourselves.’’
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Dr. Adesina expressed optimism that Nigeria, the world’s largest cassava producer, could also become a leading processor of the crop.
The minister argued that since most African countries could not sustain their expenditure profile on wheat importation, they would ultimately resort to cassava flour, thereby making Nigeria a potential exporter of cassava products.
He explained that with the introduction of the 20 per cent inclusion of cassava flour into wheat flour for bread making, Nigeria had shown that cassava bread was marketable.
Adesina noted that this would help to create more jobs for the unemployed in the country while keeping the population healthier by eating cassava bread.
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``Nigeria must be known to be a major player in what it is the largest producer of in the world.
``We cannot be dependent on other people selling us wheat when we should be mixing it with our own cassava flour and making our farmers to make money.
``That policy alone, to substitute at 20 per cent, will earn farmers in this country and processors N254 billion every year of money that we will save and put back into our rural communities.''
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The minister said that the ministry was also working on how to get compact milling systems that could mix the composite flour into a standardised pre-mix that could be sold to the master bakers.
Adesina also told NAN that plans were underway to import700 compact mills fro cassava processing through the private sector. (NAN)