The Federal Government has revealed plans to revive the cassava bread initiative to encourage the use of cassava in food production and processing.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made this known in Abuja during an interaction with journalists.
Ogbeh lamented that although Nigeria was the largest producer of cassava in the world, the economic and industrial potential of the crop had yet to be fully explored and utilised.
The minister expressed confidence that the restoration of the cassava bread initiative would curb importation of wheat, as flours used for baking bread will be produced from both wheat and cassava.
He added that this initiative would save a lot of foreign exchange, being used in importing wheat, for Nigeria, as well as encourage cassava farmers to increase their productivity.
According to him “The use to which we have put cassava has been very low. We haven’t produced industrial starch even though we are trying to revive textiles, we haven’t done ethanol, we are importing ethanol”.
“We haven’t exported cassava chips because of the cost of transportation from the hinterland to the ports.The bread one is still coming up. There is something you must add to bread if you use the cassava flour called bake shop.
“There is a Nigerian who wants to come and set up the factory here. You add that so that the bread can rise; that is what we are waiting for, it will be done.’’ he said
Ogbeh said that the Federal Government was also working to get flour millers to add 15 per cent cassava in the wheat they milled.
AgroNigeria recalls the cassava bread initiative was launched by former president Goodluck Jonathan in 2012, which was made from composite flour containing 40 per cent cassava and 60 per cent wheat.