The Federal Government says it will invest about N10 billion to strengthen various organs that will scale up the supply of cassava flour.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who disclosed this, said that the scaling up of cassava supply would ensure a gradual replacement of wheat flour in bread by 50 per cent within the next three to five years.
According to him, the recently introduced cassava bread, which has 20 to 30 per cent inclusion of cassava flour, is now available across the country.
“You go to parks and shops all across the country, they have increased their cassava flour input to 20 per cent in bread, but it is how to get it to various levels that needs interventions,’’ Dr. Adesina said.
The minister said plans were underway to put the chain together to enable the government to achieve 50 per cent cassava inclusion in bread within the next three years.
He said that the Federal Government had provided N9.9 billion under the Cassava Bread Fund and would be utilised to scale up the production chain to reach the targeted goal.
He said that the 30 per cent cassava inclusion in bread and other confectionery products had resulted to a decline by five per cent in the importation of wheat from 4.2 million metric tonnes to 3.7 million metric tonnes.
Adesina said that part of the fund was being used to acquire some 18 large scale high quality Cassava Flour Processing Plants from China to produce high quality cassava flour to scale up the demand for inclusion into wheat flour by master bakers and confectioneries.
He said that the Federal Government had also embarked on training of the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and had provided facility to the Bank of Industry to enable them acquire machinery to produce high quality flour for bakers.
The minister said that so far, government had trained 135 SMEs on the use of new flash dryers to increase the quantity of cassava flour production across the country.
He said that 375 master bakers had been trained on the use of chillers, rotary enzymes as part of the process to fully achieve the goal, while the bank would provide the master bakers with modern equipment.
Adesina said that government was also targeting more than 3000 master bakers for training to enhance the process of baking the bread.