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Howrloc::al content inldiet cal'illbQQst Afr~(a's busin'ess sanjo I

From Yem! Bamid6e. lbadan AFRJCA needs 10 rethink its food imeon burden and consider - local eoo ten," oplionssudl as the indusion of cassava flour in wheat to reduce the rising import bills.

fonner Presidem Ol~n Obasanjo has said. 1 Obasanjo who doubles as the International Institute of TropicaJ AgriQllture's Ambusador. expressed the vi~ that the local content option is pat1 of drans by the institute 10 frc.e up resources

for infrastructural development and poverty alleviation on the continent. \ AddreWng a research forum in the institute, Obasanjo pointed out thai i f we want to devdop, we must change our consumption habits.. We must consume what is our OWO , what is around us in Africa.. In this way. we wiD be able 10 make progns.s.i As, p~&nt of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, Obasanjo promoted a,IO pcrcentcassava inclusion policy in wheat bread in an effort 10 promote =-gricu1nua1 growth and diversify

the economy.

I

In 2011, estimates sho\'1 that Africa spc:nt morc than $50 billion on food impons. The rising prices of food does not make the siluation better in the yearsahead, according to Dr.jAkin Adeslna.. the Minister- of Agriculture who is also an economisL The 10 percent c:as.uvapolJcy, backed by improved agricult\ll'3.l practices fro'P llTA and national partners. indeas芦l cassava pmduction in Nigeria by 10 mUlion tons wit!tin six yean, makes Nigeria the world's top producer of cassava.. ! Building on that 路success, researchers from rITA, working in

a pUot ~ry, haverai~d cassava content in bread to 40 percent without compromising quality. Upon wring the 40 peTcent cassava bread, Obasanjo acIaimed, -The las te is good! We need to promote it tomake people adopt and consume it; he said. Beside rt;lievingthe burden on food imports, the adoption of cas-

Africa. It pro mises to

cassava competitive by creating mukels for the root crop and offers fajr prices to fanner'S. I With climate change taking a negative toU on most grains. cassava production is fast becoming an option. The crop's tolerance of extreme weather conditions such

as drought and il$ ability 10 thrive on poor soils are increasing its appeal. in Nigeria, for instance, government estimates thai the 40 percent indusion of cassava flour in wheat bread could hclp the coun路 ny save about N254 billion ($1.7 billion) annually. "But more thao savings, this will also provide Jobs

Agric expert advocatesyouth employment programme AN agncuhural expert. Mr Odunoye Olusegun has urged the federal governmt:nt 10 initiate a programme that will engage 37 million unemployed youths in environmental activities, to curb drought and desert encroachmenL Olusegun. who is the IITA Farm Manager located in Kubwa. FCf. made the cali on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.. He said the participants should be selected from Ihe 36 states and lhe FCf on the basis of one million youlhs per state. H e suggested thai the federal govem-

He said ~ide the positive impact the ment should provide 25 to 50 water tanken per ODe milliOD youths whi1e the states progr.uhme will have o n the environment,_ and local government areas sh ould oversee it will also reduce crime and redundancy the supply or plants and allocate functions among y ouths and contribute to peace: in 10 the youths respect.ive1y. for greater prothe countr;y. "ductivity. He advise-<! unemployed you ths to -The three tiers of government should think of ways 10 be self-employed. adding collabOrate in prOviding water tanken. for that-goyernment alone cannot be the sole wale ring the nunery to ensure the survival employer oflabour. of the planls for up to one year. The expert also called on the private sec"This way. we will do a\'I3ywith drought tor tn employ youths and provide the and desen encroachment as wd.l as create . bling e.lTVironment for them to ,=''''w,"";~ jobs for the teeming yo uths roaming our through various viable opportunities availstreets in search of jobs.." able iD the counlry. (NAN)

DAILY TRUST, 22 JANUARY, 2012  

How local content in diet can boost Africa's business -Obasanjo

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