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le111!1"S m"anl for !his page should 1101 be n"IOI"e dilln 150 ....'QftIs long. and e-maUI!"!! to tagoJ Punch@ Such !ellen must COI1 tain ....Tit",... lu ll namlL'S (001

:<''X'f RXli.

Cassava's rescue mission O ME YI!aJ5 il' gG. the idea dlal cassava could be Med as a - partial replacemWI for many bakery end pasla products was cons ide red f!!alJible . TIulI pfflp05~11 Is again being mooted with II ~t decision by the Fedenll GovemmMt


to ensure 10 per cenl 5ub!ltltuUon of caSSilVili flour fo r

wheal nour In tlte .hort te rm. A three-month deadline has been gi vr.n to flOUf millers for the commencement of implementation of the substitution plan 3S part of an a mblUoml programme for cassava production and the dh"l!'l"5if1 C1!.ti on (II the nallon' . agricultural Hctor. AI a m ee.ting wilh shlke holdelsln Abuja on September

2 7, the Mlni5ter of Agriculture and Rural Development. Dr. AlcinwunmJ Adeslna, $ltld the gu~ment had evolved tn msfofm.!ltion rtr3legles, which envisaged the expansion of producU,,!! capaclly to mse annual cassillva output from 34 million tUnlteS to 51 million tonnes. while a lso ImpTo\-In g ~~s,i ng fad lltles and instituting IIlechani51TlS fOT price s tillblli!;ation. Nigeria, he d echlTed , must claim its rightfu l place In Ihe global market M the larges t produce r of cassava. Governmell t ', indul try parlner. In Ihe ca.lillva lrillnsfonnilllic n sche me , nftme ly the nour mille,s. gave wha t seemed t'.) be a rIltJu~ r te pid aUurilInce of support. A IlUIdlnfl fi gUfe in the industry, Alhajl Allko Dangole, who i, aJ~o <II. m ember of the Presidential Economic Team , said flour millvs would comp ty with the deadline, even as the ""nistt!! no ted the excuses (s uc h as ails.mce of quality US5l1"1."O!I nour and possible eHeei on taste) given by flour mille rs_ The Federal Government ha d banned the Importation of whu t betwHn 19B7 and 1990 with tJ'e a im of dTl!lstlCllllly reduc:lng cons umptio n of wheat-based pToduc~ . The II UCCes, recorded , espec:laUy through the Involveme lll of I e.seill rch InsUiules, IVBS l!rOded by a saddlm policy ,elle~a l thai erased millions of na ira Ipenl by Im-eslors on IMming lind IITocess lng s tructures. But consldf!Jing Ihe possible benefits tha t come out of casSill\'iIISub'Sli tuHon, Industry pla~, ,hould collabonte wit h the goven' men t to millIe the Inmsfornlatlon plan a success. llldeed, Cassava Is Africa'. "!J'"ef!n gold." Ca!I$IIVll flo w can be ~ ed lIS a partial replacement for Imported \Vltea l n OUf. " hlls b een proved thai cas sava n o ur can theoretiCC!.11y be!; used to .ubsUtut e for 100 ,ie, cent of Ivhellt fl olll". Using a grotnl from the Bill and Me flnda Glites Foundll tlun, bldogis" lit Ohio S tate University lind oiliel centres. have developed a "mi11lcle CllS!lava ~ that provides I!II the IItJlritlOIl Ihlll a human bellig needs. The United Nll ticlI, ~od a,d AgriCUItUfll1 Org'lnlSl'ltioll says ~ lmpor1 5ubstilutl'.)n c(1I)Q rtulllties for cllue-va exl5t In three broad




areas · (I) cassava nour. (II) caslaW starch and (iii) animal feed .~

But the re a re challe nge.. Success will depend on positive environment, consumer acceplance, nliable supply, competitive price. vrlernalsuppor1and access to machi nery. nle millers nee d to ponder the reasoning 01 the au thorities. lIS presented by the Minister: " While being the larges t producer (of cassava). we only account for zero per cenl o f the global InIde In value added • ..,hlle TIu,lIand, with only 10 per cent tolal world production. lIccounl. for 80 per cenlln the global mll~l. ~ In f.he dri~-e to diversify the economy, improve local content lind minimi,e CllIplial flight. there 15 no all",matl\""f! but (0 embfllce policies and schemes such lIS the one on Ilfoductlon of compositt nourfrom caSDVa. Value lIddition Is the s oul of -ruth cnation and, 50 far. Nigeria has grievously under-performed In that regard and paid dearly through the outrageous import bill,. The government, for III Pllrt, need. to do a lot more than mere ly fonnuillting policies and enunciating the benefits of proposed schemes like thai of C"'Sllva . ubsillution. II hIlS to enthrone 1'111 appropriate legill l fnlmework and creale an enllbllng environm ent. which encompasses Issues a. diverse as Infrastructure, consistency of policies. and guaranlees that wbeat-based bread and related produds would nol be • muggled In th.ough the: borders from neighbouring cOlmbies. II I, proper that II bill on the cusava Initiative be forwarded to the NaUonal Assembly as promised by the MlnlsU!r, but Its conlents must be invettment-frl endty a nd promote local contenl dew lopme nt. For the cassava lub·sector, fllcllttles for ,torage and processing are largely IlIcklng, just as farmers do not appear to be . ufficlently Informed about the government's ilIIIhltJous plan. lind how they fit In. The Federal Government has 10 add.ress these Issues. nle proposed Ctlnava Marketing a nd Trading Corporation , lor Inl'tance, could boost the confidence 0 1 fa rme r-. and lo me other .taM:ho ldns. but some public e lilighteliment would be necessal1l. Even th e g-enenl public hilS to be enlightened on th e nutritional value or bread made from cassava flour and wheat fl ou:r. In the el1l of global uncertainty. one of the: most important ..Ie ps tha t a ny govcnment can lake i. to promote local food ,lfodllctlon a nd conswnpllon. Nigeria I la nds a c hance 10 chari a pa th , to cast oR the age-o ld Inca pacity In local content development (lIS has been th e case In the petroleum, marillme and telecommunlcaiions .eeton). TIle gOVl!fl1menl must. above all, te the will to achieve relults by cfea tlng a ll enabling envi ronm ent "nd mswlng compliance by hwiustry players with relevant I'f!gulallons I'I.nd III"'s.








'ni ltau) lind IKIdreu. and be typl!"!! douhllL'-space. Wrih!TS may no Iongqr SlL'OO lellen in paPft formal.

Jonathan, Boko Haram and Nigeria @ 51 the actual sense. lIdepe.Oel"" day iII1Iliv0sary is aM'i¥iI time lor joy lI1"15pe<Ikable.. Vn1uaIIy a! lhe rounlries il the ",-oriel ollm use !his pIL'riod for memment and jubilation. ThaI day is ah.vays nlTTIaIkabie in the hlslory of sum n;;sIion ~. happiness and II real 5eTI5e of liberty MvaIj"5 peroade the <Itmo5phere. Both lhi! small. young and old all share lind partidpale in this unique c:debration. The ceIebr.ilion is even 1~1lened. e;p edally if the rountry recorded obvious and renwk>bIo ~. When Nigerian sroJretI It 1Cie1R' del ICe from he7 I.X:IIoni.lI master on O:tober 1. 1960. UTIpIeQ!dented jubia600 and ovetwhelming happiness \ueTe in !he air. "There Wi'IS a true sen<A! of liberty. N"tgerians a!lebraled with much fanfare. InJad.. till': joy Will just ~ Ard as Nigeria ~ as l'I nation. the bend ron1nued. 0WIenges not wilhSlanding. never (or allY rea:;on pI.)yed !he 1sJ of October in evety year. II has all.vay; been a day of celebmtioo. Oesp4'e the bomb blast orchestrated by MB'lD last year. ttlm! was still a colourful



However. the 2011 independence day a!lebratlon took a differenl a~. For the fil5l lime in the history of Nigeria. he7 indepmdence day ceIebrafion was done in a b.u key dimenslOll. Infad. the atmo5phere WlIS ~ qt.lIet that ~IOU could wonder if it \ViIS ad:uaIiy an illdepelldellc!!' annivel5ary day. lhe entire nation \0.'115 just ClIIm lind sober. contrasting how 11 has lIt\VlIyS been done right from the beginning. The ~ Square that U5I.IaJIy play host 10 the cdourful and interesting event v.'115 deserted. The 5qUl'Ire Wa5 very 101"K!ty and seriously needed companion..'<hip. But 11 was unfortunate that no companion came. Instead of using the Eagle Square. ti lt! fedemI Gavoernmenl dedded 10 have i!I low key celebr.tlion righllnside the Presidential Viii!!. Abu)ll. The question is •.....hal could be responsI~ b- the FG deci9on? Few days 10 !he independence day celebration. MEND thmItenlL'd to unle<l5h mayhem in AlJuja by del(lT"0ttn9 bombs aD around the nilliiori, capital with the intenlion of making the celebrcJlion II sormu.-ful one. just like what MEND did last year. Very dosed to the celebralion day. Presidenl GoodIuck Jonathan announced thi!lt the nldependence day celeb!alion shall be on i) low key. To this end. will it be 01.11 of place to say the n-deraJ Government thickened out of the usually bumper celebration betause it didn', wanl a repeat of what happened last ~>ear' If th is is the case. my next qu~ion is 'who is in charge of this country? Who dictates haw things should be done in this country' ~ it M~D or Boko Haram or our elected leaders? Also. what i5 the pnme function of our security and intelligence offICerS? Are they not ~ to emu~ the security of this nation? These are questions lnal beg for answers from our leaders. II is unao::epIabie for llfYoj ciIizen 10 be thre.alenlL'd seQJriIy\We, but it is very I1eartbreakIng 10 see tI"lat even our IeguIy elected leaders &ho <Ire empowered by law lin! not III liberty 10 openly organi!ie such a remafl0ble. unique and naliclr0l event. As !he days come lind go. lots of innocent lj.,.,;!S iIJe shortlived. P'~ \.."..u, huge SIJm5 are destroyed; ~ Mel anxiety continue 10 engulf Ihe Inhabitants 01 the counhy. This silulllion is very pathetic. Boko rkvam Iw ~ this country 10 iYl abysnaI and heartbrealdng malaise. In viewof concerted efforts ITIll!I urgently be Ii;Jkim to 9..IITTlountthis chi&nge. PH!sident GoodIuck..lona:Ihan mtS \vake up from his gentlem<tn style olleadmhip N this point. the siIuiICion does not TI?QlJiIe .such iI clumsy and rumberscme leadership approach. Mr. Pre5itkm1 must ..... up and ictke jlI"O<tctive steps to end this bend. OJr and religious leaders must i!IIso come out very actively in tllis regard. Challenging timE:s like this are times !hey must prow \heir SnceriIy and love for this country. They mlJsI come out and sha.v a true 5I?nSe of latherhood by prt'lIChing the ~ of peace and unity 10 a111heir 10loweB.. Abo. this is the time for all N"geriinllo sho.v a true ~ of patriotism. We must sincerely unite and coIIediveIy secwe <til end to this ul1l'lCl.:eplOOJ rnenac:e. To this end. I cal on all NorthemIL'rs Md Southerners. Ou"i!tians and Mar.iem§. Ibo$. I-Iausas. Yorubas. lja\vs and all oCher .....eII meaning N"~ 10 shun vioIeoce and er-n9mce peKe_ Let" 5 come together <tnd ma/te Nigeria <I safe ~. ·Okecllllmllu Ch"klllilmll, Dt'Iloliment of Mnu COlllllltmJeotln... School of PosI-GmdU!1te Studie:1, Unluer.sity of Nigerio, Nsufd(o, Ok4hfghn@)


Cassava's rescue mission

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