Nigeria would save about N258 billion annually from the substitution of Wheat Flour with High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF)used in baking of bread and confectionaries.
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who gave this estimation also commended the management of UTC for its efforts at including 40 per cent cassava flour in production of some of its products.
Speaking during a visit to the corporate office of the company in Lagos recently, Adesina explained that Nigeria remains the largest producer of cassava with a total of 36.8 million mt harvested from 3.13 million ha in 2009 and an average yield of 11.7mt/ha.
He added that in spite of this feat, the country accounts for an insignificant fraction of global value addition of cassava due to heavy depence on imported wheat flour by bakers.
Commending UTC for taking the bold step which many thought impossible, Adesina said that the move would contribute significantly to saving the nation about N258b every year.
“Those who ship in cheap wheat flour said we cannot do it. What UTC has done is the power of what you can do for your country.”
He disclosed that “Nigeria spends a lot in importing wheat that the country does not plant, thus creating business for others and killing business for our farmers. The role of government is not to create poverty, so 40 per cent of HQCF inclusion is part of wealth creation,” he said.
Adesina further disclosed that the cassava transformation would turn the cassava sector in Nigeria into a major player in local and international markets by adopting improved production and processing technologies as well as organising producers and processors into efficient value-added chains.
The minister revealed that 18 large industrial scale HQCF plants will be established soon to generate the 1.2 million tons of HQCF required under the Federal Government policy of 40 per cent inclusion rate of HQCF in wheat flour.
Managing Director of UTC, Mrs.Folusho Olaniyan, while looking forward to the commissioning of the large industrial scale plants, said before now the availability of HQCF had been a challenge.