Nigeria will likely save N163 billion annually from including 20 percent cassava flour into wheat flour. The country will also create about 3 million jobs from doing same, Gloria Elemo, director-general/CEO, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, has said.
“So much can be saved by including 20 percent cassava into our wheat to produce cassava bread for Nigerians to consume,” Elemo said on Tuesday, while signing a memorandum of understanding with Epina Technologies, in Lagos.
“We have made major breakthroughs on wheat flour to stop or reduce the importation of wheat flour for bread and confectionery food products,” she said, at the institute’s headquarters.
The inclusion of cassava flour in wheat began as part of Nigeria’s immediate past president’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda and the National Industrial Revolution Plan. Already, flour millers are including cassava flour in wheat owing to its cost-effectiveness. The cassava flour business is also becoming increasingly competitive, as import remains expensive as a result of hike in tariff and exchange rate volatility.
Akinwumi Adesina, immediate past agriculture minister and now president of African Development Bank, said in 2011 that the country could save N305 billion yearly from including 50 percent cassava in wheat flour, stressing that the then annual wheat import that amounted to N635 billion was hurting the country’s foreign exchange earnings and worsening unemployment.
The Mou signing brought together Epina Technologies and FIIRO, with a view to developing Nigeria’s ceramics industry.
Patrick Oaikhinan, CEO, Epina Technologies and professor of ceramics engineering, said given the current economic difficulties, Nigerians must become creative and innovative.
“Our challenge is to improve the domestic manufacturing business/trade so that we can attract investment, provide employment opportunities, and facilitate technology transfer and skills building,” Oaikhinan said.
According to him, the moribund ceramics industry needs revivification to create jobs and save the country’s dwindling foreign reserves.
“We believe that working together with FIIRO will bring great results. With it Epina and FIIRO will be ready to move forward with this exciting new collaboration,” he said.