25.8 C
April 17, 2024

Delayed Implementation of Cassava Bread Scheme Costs Nigeria $200m Annually – NCGA

The Nigerian Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) has revealed that Nigeria suffers an annual loss of over $200 million due to the non-implementation of the cassava bread scheme.

Mustapha Bakano, the newly appointed NCGA National President, stated this during a press briefing following the inauguration of executive members in Abuja.

Bakano noted that the nation’s excessive reliance on wheat flour for bread production results in high costs of importation.

The cassava bread scheme, established in October 2012 by former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, aimed to incorporate cassava products into bread production to reduce dependence on wheat flour and save foreign revenue.

However, the scheme failed after Adesina’s tenure, contributing to the country’s dependence on wheat importation, despite Nigeria being the largest producer of cassava worldwide.

Bakano emphasized that cassava is versatile, adding that it can be used not only for bread production but also in pharmaceuticals and ethanol production.

In his words: “I won’t say we got it wrong, but something happened along the line, government policy direction changed. During the time of former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, there was the cassava bread initiative, had it continued, by now, we would have been using 40 percent of cassava in flour in the bakery. By now, we would not be saying we are suffering from depletion in our foreign reserves.

“Now, we are working tirelessly to see how we can ensure that first, 10 percent of cassava comes into wheat to reduce the import bill for the country. If we can input 10 percent in the first year, we will look at how we can reduce the import bill by almost $200m, by the time we go to 20 percent, it is now 400m so we are looking at a framework where we can go to 3 to 4 years and we will give it to the government to see how they can be able to implement it.”

The NCGA is actively pursuing a resource development plan to address challenges and seek government support for policy implementation.

Bakano urged for decisive policy action to promote domestic consumption of locally produced goods, stating the nutritional and economic advantages of cassava-based products.

He said, “We want the government to give a policy direction so that when the policy becomes law, it becomes national and everyone will abide by it so that we can be consuming what we produce instead of putting too much import bill on our country. 40 percent of cassava can go into bread, and we will feel comfortable eating it, and it is more nutritious.”

Related posts

FG Approves Commercial Release of Transgenic Insect-resistant, Drought-tolerant Maize Varieties


FCTA to Enhance Agricultural Efficiency, Productivity


‘GM Crops Not a Threat to National Security’, NABDA, BSN Write Senate