By Favour Nnabugwu
Federal Government says the country will save a whopping N187 billion annually with the consumption of cassava bread by Nigerians. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Arc. Sonny Echono disclosed this at the launching of the Cassava/ Wheat Composite Flour and presentation of baking equipment to master bakers in Abuja.
According to him, the Cassava Bread Intervention Fund was to be managed by the Bank of Industry with the Bank of Agriculture to produce a synergy that will save Nigeria N187 billion on a yearly basis when cassava bread consumption is accepted by everybody.
“So far, the programme is yielding the desired dividends as the BOI delivers equipment worth several millions of naira to master bakers, 2000 master bakers have been trained, the government is looking forward to training about 5000 master bakers,” he said.
In its goodwill message, the Master Bakers Association, commended BOI for effective management of the intervention fund
BoI’s Managing Director, Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, who was represented by the zonal director of the bank, commended the honour accorded the bank to put bakers together, promising that the BOI make a success of the Cassava Bread Intervention Programme.
The Bank of Industry, BoI, delivers equipment worth several millions of naira to 97 master bakers across the country in fulfilment of its part in the N9.9billion Cassava Bread Intervention Fund,
The bank, under the programme is expected to deliver equipment to 117master bakers across the country. The association, which disclosed that there were over 450,000 master bakers in Nigeria, implored the bank to extend the equipment gesture to the remaining master bakers under the intervention fund. Commissioning the baking equipment funded by BOI, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina commended the Transformation Agenda put in place by President Goodluck Jonathan and admonished all Nigerians to patronise the crops grown by Nigerian farmers . Adesina has said that in the last three years, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) has added N780 billion in the nation’s economy.
The Minister also said that as a result of the recent drive in the nation’s agriculture, the food import bill have dropped drastically in recent times.
According to him, “The agricultural transformation agenda has added N 780 billion to the economy within the past three years. Our expanded by an additional 21 national food production million MT within three years – a record in our nation’s history.
“As a result of the agricultural transformation agenda which we started in 2011, Nigeria’s food import bill declined from N1.1 Trillion in 2011 to N 634 billion by December of 2013 and continues to decline. Our farmers are seeing the benefits as they are producing more food”. He therefore said that with today’s events the landscape of cassava in Nigeria will change, he also said that cassava will not be seen as a subsistence crop for household and village-level processing. He further said that Cassava has now become the raw material of choice for the burgeoning bread flour, sweetener, starch, and ethanol markets.