10% cassava flour inclusion in bread to industrialise crop-USAID manager


Mr Peter Akinyemi, the Cassava Value Chain Manager, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Market II Project, has said that the 10 per cent cassava flour inclusion in bread, would industrialise the crop.
Akinyemi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday that the government policy was partly meant to reduce post-harvest losses, since Nigeria was the world highest producer of cassava.
According to him, the Federal Government has succeeded in creating a high demand for the crop but expressed fears that the policy had not been backed up by incentives.
``It was a laudable policy that should transform cassava from a mere farm crop to an industrial crop because 80 per cent of farmers in sub-Sahara Africa grow cassava.
``Cassava can be used to transform the lives of rural farmers because once there is demand for what they produce and it is profitable for them, they will do it.
``The idea is a booster for farmers to sell their cassava and to reduce importation but it is not that simple because it goes with a lot of challenges.
``Hence, if government is coming out with a policy, it should be backed up with incentives to ensure that the policy achieves its set goals,’’ Akinyemi said.
He also said that the demand for cassava had heightened, necessitating the need to ensure a constant supply of the commodity to industrial end users and agro processors.
Akinyemi stressed the need to re-orientate farmers on how to profitably run a business and not to depend solely on government for everything.
``I am a champion of farming as a business; we are trying to lift farmers from that mentality of depending too much on government for everything.
``Farming is a business; so farmers should see themselves as businessmen. Although, there are some things only government can do to help farmers but we must first re-orientate ourselves.
``Before we go into any form of farming, we must first look at the cost implications and benefits like other businessmen do,’’ he said.
NAN reports that USAID Market (Markets Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprise in targeted sites) II project, works in five value chains; cocoa, cassava, rice, sorghum and aquaculture.
It is meant to improve the performance, income, nutrition and food security of poor Nigerian rural farmers or smallholders in a sustainable manner. 

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