The Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) has urged the Federal Government to implement the cassava bread policy which proposed a 20 per cent cassava flour additive in bread baking.
Dr Gloria Elemo, Director-General, FIIRO, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
Elemo said that the cassava bread initiative had experienced delays in implementation due to low acceptance by consumers, a development the government could have checked with the policy implementation.
“For now, the cassava bread initiative has experienced a slow growth due to low acceptance by consumers and partly because it is a new development that needs reinforcement and an enabling environment.
“At a point in this journey, there arose some insinuations that cassava bread may cause diabetes because of the cassava addition.
“But we went ahead with further research and discovered that cassava has even lower glycemic index, which proved the opinion wrong,’’ she said.
“While we are talking about unemployment and the need for value addition to our agricultural products, we should be looking at resolving them because Nigeria is the highest producer of cassava in the world.
“Cassava products in FIIRO alone are more than 100 products and bread is just of them, others are industrial products like ethanol and other chemicals, all of which we have trained more than 250,000 youths on.
“The difference between cassavas wasting away on our farms, value addition to the product in flour is our action.
“We appeal to the government to support our drive for economic diversification through cassava products.’’
Also, Mr Jacob Adejorin, Chairman, Association of Master Bakers of Nigeria (AMBCN), told NAN that the increasing price of wheat flour should spur Nigerian bakers and stakeholders to embrace cassava inclusion in confectioneries.
Adejorin, however, said that High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) was still scarce because some cassava processors don’t have the sophisticated machines to dry and process the cassava for longer shelf life.
“We bakers are fully in support of the cassava bread initiative but the reason it is not being implemented to the fullest is because we lack the infrastructure to make it work.
“All we need is empowerment for the processors to ensure more availability of HQCF, training and funding for bakers for the initiative,’’ Adejorin said.