The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, yesterday said that Nigeria was spending about N635 billion annually to import wheat for bread production.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Cassava Bread Initiative in Ado Ekiti, Adesina described the importation as wasteful and a misplaced priority.
He said the development made the Federal Government to opt for the cassava bread option in Nigeria.
The minister also said that Nigerians were spending N10 billion to import food items annually, a development he described as wasteful and inimical to the growth of local agriculture.
He said the country should increase its productive capacity in agriculture and patronise made-in-Nigeria products for the Federal Government to achieve its proposed 20 million jobs for Nigerians in 2015.
Adesina said that countries like the U.S. and Britain were making enormous progress in economic development because they were exporting more of their finished products than importing primary products.
The minister debunked insinuations that cassava bread consumption would increase diabetes among Nigerians, saying it had low glycemic index compared to other brands of bread in circulation.
He said the initiative had drawn the attention of other African nations, including Malawi from where experts had been brought to Nigeria to understudy cassava bread production.
Adesina said that with the way things were going, Nigeria might end up importing over a million metric tons of wheat yearly which would have adverse effects on the economy.
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, promised adequate funding for cassava growers in the state.