BY CHRIS OCHAYI & CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA—FEDERAL Government has explained that there was no health implication associated with consumption of the cassava bread, as being speculated in some quarters.
Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, at a meeting with master bakers in Abuja, however, reiterated the government’s position on the 18 months ultimatum issued to bakeries to move towards 40% substitution of high quality cassava flour.
Dr Adesina stated further that critics of the revolutionary plan in the agricultural sector by the government were enemies of Nigerian farmers who took solace in the importation of food for their selfish interest.
He said: “Why must it be that anytime we talk about eating our own food, people begin to raise health crisis as excuse?
“Food Industry is based on research and development. So, as long as you stick to the set standard, there will not be any problem.”
Adesina maintained that government had what it takes and had planned to focus on diversifying product and market opportunities for cassava for Nigerian farmers.
He said: “Government has raised the tariff on imported wheat to encourage the substitution of wheat flour with high quality cassava flour. To encourage this, all equipment and machinery for processing high quality cassava flour and composite flours will attract zero taxes.
“Furthermore, all flourmills and producers of high quality cassava flour who attain the 40% substitution with high quality cassava flour will receive a 12% tax rebate. With effect from March 31, 2012, the importation of cassava flour will be prohibited. All bakers will have within 18 months to move towards 40% substitution of high quality cassava flour.”