VENTURES AFRICA – The use of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) will save Nigeria N258 billion ( $1,638,408,135USD) yearly. This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesinain, during a visit to the UTC corporate office of the company in Lagos recently.
While applauding the company for actualizing the dream of producing a wheat-made product with cassava, which many critics had deemed impossible, Dr. Adesina said with the inclusion of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) in some of its products that the country will be saving about N258b every year. He commended the management of UTC for its efforts at including 40% cassava flour in production of some of its products.
The Minister revealed that Nigeria remains the largest producer of cassava with a total of 36.8millionMT harvested from 3.13 million/ha in 2009 and an average yield of 11.7mt/ha. In spite of this, the company account to a low fraction of global value addition due to the heavy dependence on imported wheat flour by bakers.
He commended the management of UTC for its efforts at including 40% cassava flour in production of some of its products.
Adesina said, “Those who ship in cheap wheat bread said we cannot do it. What UTC has done is the power of what you can do for your country.”
The initiation of using cassava in replacement of wheat will turn the cassava sector in Nigeria into a major player in local and international High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) by adopting improved production and processing technologies as well as organising producers and processors into efficient value-added chains.
To keep the ball rolling, Adesina said that 18 large industrial scale High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) plants will be established soon to generate the 1.2 million tons of HQCF required under the Federal government policy of 40% inclusion rate of HQCF in wheat flour. The introduction of this large industry scale firm will diminish the challenge of the availability of HQCF.
According to the Managing Director of UTC, Mrs. Folusho Olaniyan, UTC is positioned to be part of this initiative based on the company’s first demonstration -test run of cassava-based bread, which dates back to 2007, saying that the company has actually gone ahead to match the quality of the bread produced from the High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) with that of 100% wheat flour.