Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adewunmi Adesina
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adewunmi Adesina, Monday said the Federal Government was determined to ensure that before 2015, cassava bread would replace wheat bread in the country.
The minister made the declaration in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, while declaring open a two-day practical training organised by his ministry for about 70 Master Bakers drawn from the South-south geo-political zone on the use of cassava flour to make bread.
Adesina, who was represented by his Special Adviser, Technical, Mr. Tony Egba, expressed regret that despite the fact that Nigeria was the largest producer of cassava in the world, the cassava tuber was only reduced to garri and fufu for public consumption.
He said the training of Master Bakers across the country on the use of cassava flour to make bread was a deliberate policy by the Federal Government to expose them to the new methodology and skills available.
The minister noted that the continuous spending of billions of naira yearly to import wheat flour for baking into the country should be discouraged, saying: “Before 2015, we want to eat Nigeria bread made of cassava flour , as wheat bread is not better than cassava bread.”
Adesina said the importance which the Federal Government attached to the scheme could not be over emphasised, as it was only agriculture that could give employment to the youths.
He urged the participants to take the training seriously and should face the challenges posed in the cassava break making rather than shifting the blame to government on the lapses.
While lauding the Federal Government for the training programme, participants called on the government to address the high cost of cassava floor if the nation was to achieve appreciable percentage of cassava bread before 2015.
Apart from having the location of cassava floor mill closer to the people in the locality, the participants equally wants the federal government to extend the training for zonal to state and local government levels.