Sunday Tribune, 16 September, 2012
~cial ood initiative i g pub c awareness?
EMMANU::;L ADENIYI and COLLINS NNABUIFE examine the Federal Government initiative on cassava-wheat composite bread, which may be up against a brick wall should government and other relevant bodies fail to spread awareness about it. HEN Ihe Mlnlsler of AgrlcullUre, Dr Ak nwuml Adeslna. disclosed re""ntly that NI~ertll Iways spenl clo e to N635b annually for ·.he 1m JOrtaUon of wheat used for bread producUon mUe ,lid Ihe naUon reall e the full weight of this revl!hUc n Possibly In Ih' mind of the minister. who has taken the hull b) the horns 10 revamp agrtcullural sector 01 tht· e< 0 ,omy. there could be some rack· eleerlng and pl. as by some people 10 sabotage government' elfe rts In the sec lor. Just a harp practices are recorded In lhe nauon's all &eCtOI . the lendency of agncultural seclor serving as a "erttable tool In U,e hands of cerlain Indlvtduals II hoodwtnk and engage In corruplion Is alsc said 1I0l to be Improbable . A I(ood ~, amp e of malpractices going on In the sec lor Is the calnpalgn of calumny being raised agalnsl th,· CB.!!Si va bread Inilialive of the Federal Governmelll \\'1- lie some people. for the reasons best knowlI '0 I h' ·m. are said 10 have cen the move as a dealt kn~1I for them and th~tr tmport businesses. olllfrs u e said to have whipped up public senttment lIlalns the InIUaUn 10 prolect their economic Inler"sL... With lo,,~ 0'- .heal Imported Inlo the country annually and hu~e profits made by Importers and thetr aides al hOlOe and abroad. any move thaI wtll cuI Impona or 'Jf wheat InIO Nigeria Is best seen as an attempt II) dislodge lhe thnvlng bUSiness. which has 1.un",1 many Into billionaires. Dr Adesilla. wt fie lnauguraUng U,e Cassava Bread InlUaUve tn EklU )tale recently. was reported 10 have desCribed wheat ImportaUon InlO the country as being "..-astrful- ll1d a demonslralJon of misplaced pnonly, nc, ng U at. "Ntgerta Is the largesl produ"",
of cassava III Ihe world. Yet. we ar U,e largest importer of wheal In the world· According 10 him U,e developmenl has compdled U,e government to explore the opUon of using cassava flour In bread producUon tn the country so as to reduce tons of wheat Imported 10 Nigeria. Howt:vr.r. public opinion seems to be averse La U,e InlUaU\·e. as many people 5e~ It as a joke and one of those government's policies thaI will not stand the tesl of Ume. A wbeallmporter. who also has a bread bakery In Lagos. told Sunday Tribune under condition of anonymity tlull the initio Uve would force many of them out of business. adding that their pront margin \Vould slmUarly nosedive. "TIlere Is lItUe or no pro/ll In bread baking per se. Ulls Is why I rombtne It wIth wheal ImportaUon business to make some money. We will never proy the policy should succeed. HonesUy. as I am spcal<Ing with you. we are meeting 10 nnd a way of how we can prevent a cut In wheat ImportaUon. ·We are not saying cassava flour should not be used In bread production. why It sbould reduce wheat ImportaUon Is what I personally don·t understand. "TIley are talking of saving (orelgn exchange. are they also aware that we. Importers. contrtbute to the economic acllvlUes of the country and any reducllon In Import will also alTecl us. because we depend on It? They need be told that It Is from It we pay our taxes and aU that.· In a recenl publication, It was reported thaI the House of Representatives rejected a but mandaung Inclusion of 40 per ""nt cassava flour In bread. Though the Mlnlsler of Agnculture debunked this publication. saytng there was no such bill from the execuUve and thaI no deCision could be laken by
-Dr Alcinwu.ml Adesina. Agriculture Mlnlster
U", National Assembly on an execu Uve bill Ulat did not exist. II Is believed that cassava bread InIUallve could be up agalnsl a bnck wall mounted by powerful individuals who rake In millions of nalTa annu ally from wheat Importation. Coupled with the sabotage Is also the I ue of (Continued on page", 7]
Now ~s ~ e to create local content in Nigeria's food production -Mazumdar 1~11lm.1n'In
!'Iju:unldllt is the Manager, Hotel Catering and Travel Services in • An Indian, who has been at the forefront of promoting cassavabread, calls for the inclusion of local content in food Excerpts:
bake cassaO<l bread and
other ancLUary products In
DTA and sen><! them In your canteen, what halle been the comments of your consum.ars? Great feedbacks from different people wbo bave eaten our produCls have been pouring In. We have tried dlJTerent recipes. Uke 20, 30 and 50 per cent cassava nour. and responses fTOm people bave been so wonderful . Nobody rejected tbe bread from the hundreds offeedback we received. Does India use ca.s.saoa flour in the production of bread. if yes, in what way can Nigeria -~""' .-- -.:-- learn from In<1la? I beard of It, bull have not seen It, bowever. It does nol mean It Is not possible here _ The problem here Is bow to creale awareness local e because th
don·t know. What Is responsible for this? Improper InformaUon . We don't empower our people to know more. We have to do more Ln lhls area. What Is DTA doing 10 create QUlareness, since you h.alle Identified it as a major factor hindering acceptance of the bread? We are orgartislng trainings fOT people. We also train people 10 understand the ingredients used In making the bread and how to make good bread. You said the price of wheat In Europe an<1 America would soon skyrocket. .. ? Yes. This Is due to the posslblllty of sev",e drougbt In Europe and America. this will bring drown production level. Tbere Is also a projecUon that very soon there Is going to be less rood available across the globe . Wha t thts means Is that prices of food Items will grow up, thls ma.k es Itlmperauve for developing local con ten I here . Should we keep looking up.1o them and spending money that cou ld be used for creating employment. develop lhe economy and Invest In the lotal value chain of the sec lor on Importing wheal? There Is a need for lbe use of local content. Is lhe cer of cassava In
different p Ilke garri , fqfu ? can't the na process lbe crop composite You can always a marrIage of the wbeat a cassava nour produce good As It Is now. Nigeria. according to the Mlnlsler Agriculture. $3.7b for wheat, and Ihls going 10 go up . You can Imagine tbe LmpUcation of this a growing economy like Nigeria : tbe hard-earned foreign exchange sbould be used for social development, iDstead of Importl wbeat.