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 As ICSAN, FIIRO train 100 bakers, confectioners

The inclusion of cassava flour in the production of bread, in addition to price reduction, is capable of saving the country at least $2b yearly.   The President of the Industrial Cassava Stakeholders Association of Nigeria (ICSAN), Mr. Segun Ladele, disclosed this at a one-day training/workshop on the demonstration of cassava flour as an inclusion to wheat flour, in collaboration with the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) in Lagos, appealed to the Federal Government to promote the initiative, to reduce the increasing price of bread.

While calling on industry players and actors to embrace the initiative, Ladele pleaded for synergy between bakers and cassava processors to transform the fortune of the industry.

He said: “The inclusion of cassava in bread making, if well accepted, would lead to 15 to 20 percent reduction in the price of bread. Nigeria produces about 60 million tonnes of cassava yearly and is the largest producer of cassava in the world, but the potential is still untapped.

“The war between Russia and Ukraine affects everybody and it is putting pressure on the current situation. If you are looking at 10 percent of cassava flour inclusion in bread making, it will save the country about $2b on the importation of wheat.

“The flour millers are also lamenting that the price of wheat flour is very high. We can see the result from the bread we eat. Bread is very expensive now because we fail to include cassava in wheat for bread production.”

The Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Jummai Adamu, who disclosed that FIIRO researchers had confirmed over the years that High-Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) inclusion in wheat flour up to 30 percent was safe, with outstanding benefits, said cassava remains the country’s major solution to food security and industrial development.

Represented by Director, Extension and Linkage, Dr Dele Oyeku, the DG said economic benefits, foreign exchange savings, wealth creation, job creation and growth of the non-oil sector are some of the benefits of the cassava value chain. She said: “It is my prayer that the legislation of cassava flour inclusion in wheat flour for bread and confectioneries baking is realized to justify the input of all stakeholders. It is our hope that the current efforts in the legislation of wheat cassava composite bread will sail through the National Assembly and be signed into law.”

The Director and Head of the Food Technology Department, FIIRO, Dr. Oluwatoyin Oluwole said the implementation of the cassava flour inclusion had faced numerous obstacles, including the problem of adoption by flour millers, adding that the initiative has a lot of benefits if adopted by processors.Oluwole said: “Bakers will make a lot of profits if they embrace this initiative. A 50kg bag of wheat flour costs about N34, 000 now, depending on the brand, while

the same size of cassava flour costs N20, 000. What we did was majorly recipe manipulation, you are not going to change your equipment used for 100 per cent wheat flour. I can assure that if adopted, there’ll be more job opportunities for those that venture into cassava processing.”

During the workshop, about 100 master bakers and private confectioners, drawn from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo states, were trained on the usage of 10 per cent HQCF inclusion for bread production.