By Ginika Okoye
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria says the revival of the cassava bread initiative is capable of injecting about N255 billion into the country’s economy every year.
Mr Joseph Ubah, the Publicity Secretary of the association, said this on Thursday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that initiative, which involved the use of composite flour containing 10 per cent cassava flour, for baking bread, would discourage exportation of wheat and promote cassava production in the country.
Ubah, who bemoaned the perceptible inconsistency as to the continuation of some government policies, said that large consignments of wheat were still being imported into the country.
He said that if the initiative was revived, the money for wheat importation would be saved and used to fund national development projects or tackle some pressing issues in the country
Ubah stressed that the revival of the cassava bread initiative would boost the economy and encourage cassava farmers to improve their production.
“We have been able to reach a point where a consumer would not be able to differentiate between bread baked with cassava flour and the one baked with only wheat flour, but that programme was later jettisoned.
“If we must progress in this country, there must be continuity in our policies.
“Nigeria will be earning over N255 billion annually if 10 per cent cassava flour is included in bread; Nigerian bakers are even capable of increasing the percentage of cassava flour in bread to 20 per cent.
“Then, we will be talking of generating about N450 billion annually, which will be added to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if this initiative is revived,’’ he said.
Ubah noted that that the price of wheat was currently high, adding that the addition of cassava flour to the wheat flour would reduce the cost of flour production and bread production by extension.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to revive the cassava bread initiative in order to put bakers back in business.