The Special Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, has said that Nigeria spends N356 billion annually in the importation of rice and N635 billion annually in importation of wheat.
Giving the break down, he said that Nigeria spends over N1 billon daily on rice importation and over N2 billion daily on wheat importation of rice.
Disclosing this at the Nestle Creating Shared Value Media Workshop held in Lagos, he said that the nation would save funds if the cultivation of wheat and rice is taken seriously by farmers and private sector.
He added that with the production of adequate cassava and its subsequent usage, Nigeria will be saving 40 per cent from importation of wheat.
Oyeleye further said that the government will be going into mass cassava production with the multiplier effect of job creation among the entire value chain, from planting, to processing and marketing.
According to him, “there will be job opportunity for all the people that are involved and this will enable us to also export what we produce”.
The Special Adviser noted that the recent climate change in the world may force some nations to reduce what they export because they want to feed their local population first, adding that for this reason, Nigeria must look inward and then produce what it eat and eat what it produced.
He, however, faulted the claim in some quarters that cassava flour leads to diabetes, describing it as unfounded claim and scientifically not true.
He commended the effort of some private sector that have started combining cassava and wheat flour together to bake bread, cake, biscuit etc, adding that it has a lot of nutritional and health benefits.
In a welcome address, the Managing Director of Nestle Nigeria Plc., Martin Woolnough, said in furtherance of its commitment to promote public understanding of nutrition, water and agriculture / rural development issues, Nestlé, the leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company saw this need in organising the Creating Shared Value (CSV) Media Workshop.
“The workshop aimed at strengthening journalists reporting skills and raising the level of media coverage of nutrition, water and agriculture/rural development issues”, he stated.