• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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FG to save N127bn annually on substitution of cassava flour for wheat imports

cassava flour

The Federal Government says the nation will be saving N127billion annually by focusing on cassava flour with a view to reducing import bills on wheat.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh who disclosed this on Wednesday in Ibadan reiterated the Federal Government’s full commitment to cassava integration into Bread production as part of the import substitution policy.

Ogbeh who was represented at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, on the occasion of the formal launching and 1st general planning meeting of African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), South West Regional Director of in the Ministry, Comfort Adedoyin Awe, lamented the high cost of import bills on wheat to the Federal Government explaining that Nigeria currently spends a whooping sum of N635billion annually on the importation of wheat.

ACAI is aimed at improving the livelihoods and incomes of cassava farmers in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and DR Congo by researching and tapping into and implementing best-bet agronomic practices.

However, with this new policy, the minister stated that it would boost employment generation in the sector and reduce the country’s import bills.

“The Federal Government’s focus now is on cassava flour with a view to reducing import bills on wheat thus creating more employment in the sector. Under the arrangement, the Federal Government is also out to make the farmers happy. Once the farmers are happy, the nation will be happy.”

Speaking earlier, the ACAI Project Coordinator, Abdulai Jalloh from Senegal explained that the project which is led by the IITA with funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will specifically improve cassava yields, cassava root quality, cassava supply to the processing sector, and fertilizer sales, thereby engaging over 100,000 households in Nigeria and Tanzania, and facilitating the engagement of at least 30 per cent women farmers.

Also speaking, the IITA Director for Central Africa, Bernard Vanlauwe commended the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting the project with 14.4million dollars for five years commencing from 2016.

Vanlauwe said: “The value of benefits from this project in Nigeria and Tanzania is projected to be over 27 million USD.

Furthermore, through engagement of households in Ghana, Uganda, and DR Congo and through extra interest generated in the products developed by the project, these figures are expected to increase for at least 150,000 households and a value created of at least 40 million USD within the 5-year time frame of the project.”