The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), says the use of cassava floor in baking bread calls for increased production of cassava and cassava enhancing enzymes.
Mr Tunji Olukoya, the Chairman, Agricutural Trade Group of NACCIMA, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Lagos.
Olukoya said that the nation needed an aggressive and improved production of cassava to leverage the diversified use of cassava floor.
He noted that the emerging market for cassava bread and other confectionaries, required domestic research in the production of cassava enhancing enzymes.
The chairman also lauded the efforts of the Federal Government and the Ministry of Agriculture on cassava enhancing enzymes research.
“I want to say that it’s a step in the right direction because cassava is giving the economy an edge, and sending delegates outside Nigeria to source for cassava enhancing enzymes that will improve the productivity.
“I want to believe also that the agriculture ministry is collaborating with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, in this cassava enhancing enzymes,'' Olukoya said.
In a telephone interview, Mrs Foluke Areola, Head, Aquatic Resources Department, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), said that enhancing enzymes was one of the ways to increase production.
“We import these cassava enhancing enzymes which shouldn’t be; that is why we are seeking how and where to get them to diversify our cassava production.
“It will be high yielding for farmers and bakers, and they stand to gain from this development, now that we are making efforts to utilise our resources wisely,” Areola said.
Also speaking, Mrs Rose Gidado, an Assistant Chief Scientific Officer, National Biotechnology Development Agency, said that the availability of the cassava enzymes would enhance crop multiplication and improve farmers' access to seedlings.
“It will increase cassava productivity both in quantity and quality and cassava bread production will be enhanced in many ways.”
Gidado said that government moves to produce cassava enhancing enzymes locally, was a commendable effort that would impact positively on farmers and the nation’s foreign exchange.
“Cassava farmers will be sure of disposing their farm produce and this will increase their income and improve their livelihood.
“The Nigerian economy will of course, be improved because the importation of wheat grain and wheat flour will drastically be reduced, thereby conserving foreign exchange,” Gidado said.
in his comments, Mr Bolaji Alonge, a farm development expert, urged the government to create incentives that would encourage farmers into increase cultivation and production of cassava.
“We are talking about more cassava production, which farmer wouldn’t like such initiative; we just hope that farmers will embrace commercialisation of cassava production,” Alonge said.
NAN recalls that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, had said that a cassava enhancing enzyme policy was one of the ways to sustain the cassava bread initiative.
NAN reports that the importance of cassava enhancing enzyme in the nation’s the cassava bread initiative made the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to completely remove the import duty on the enzymes. (NAN)