Master Bakers Roll Out Cassava Bread In Ekiti State


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Remarks by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, at the Graduation Ceremony of the Training of Master Bakers of Ekiti State in Cassava Bread Making by the UTC with Ekiti State Government and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 6 August, 2012.

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Master Bakers Roll Out Cassava Bread In Ekiti State

  1. 1. MASTER BAKERS ROLL OUT CASSAVA BREAD IN EKITI STATERemarks by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and RuralDevelopment, at the Graduation Ceremony of the Training of Master Bakers of Ekiti State inCassava Bread Making by the UTC with Ekiti State Government and Federal Ministry ofAgriculture and Rural Development, 6 August, 2012.Your Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, my brother and dear friend, Dr. KayodeFayemi. Your Excellency, the Deputy Governor Fumilayo Olayinka, Secretary to the StateGovernor, Honourable Commissioners, especially the Honourable Commissioner of Commerce,Industry and Cooperatives, Otunba Bodunrin, and Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture,Permanent Secretaries and Local Government Chairmen, Royal Fathers, MD of UTC, MrsOlaniyan, our dear Master Bakers, bread Sellers association and cassava growers association, (nofarmers no nation, rich farmers rich nation!!), my Regional Director and State Director andtechnical advisors, especially Mrs Toyin Adetunji who is driving our work on cassava bread,friends, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.Today we take another giant stride forward in our quest as a country to free ourselves from theshackles of food importation. We spend over 10 billion Naira importing basic food items,such aswheat, rice, fish and sugar every year. The exporting countries love Nigeria, they see us as anation that has capacity to feed itself, but chooses to throw its capacity away, to become importdependent, due to our high taste for foreign foods.As we import food, we are simply making our economy weaker. We are exporting jobs, insteadof creating jobs at home. We are making the farmers of food exporting countries richer, while ourown farmers are poorer for lack of markets. While the young graduates of food exportingcountries get jobs, Nigerian young graduates roam the streets.The biggest business in the world is food business. For no man can exist without food. Yes,Nigeria has oil, but nobody drinks or eats oil. As the economy of Europe and the US continues tostruggle, demand for our oil is dwindling.Times are different now. While we could afford to lavish our foreign exchange on food importsbefore, today we cannot, because we must create jobs at home. Today, we spend 635 billionNaira importing wheat. Our wheat import is growing at the rate of 13% annually. By 2020 it isestimated that, at this growth rate, Nigerias annual
  2. 2. wheat imports will hit 17 million MT, or the entire wheat exports of Canada, the 3rd largestwheat producer in the world. As we do, we will be shattering the hopes of our farmers in Nigeriawho produce crops that can substitute for wheat in bread.We must encourage domestic substitution for wheat. It is a matter of national security. The US isexperiencing its worst drought in 100 years. Some 48 states in the US, majority wheat growingstates, are recording very poor wheat crop. The price of wheat will rise by 50%. This means thatNigeria is importing inflation and that makes our economy vulnerable. But cassava is droughttolerant, so it can better secure our food supply than wheat.This is why Mr President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took a bold step to diversify the economythrough the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, with the goal of adding 20 million MT of foodto the domestic food supply by 2015. At the center of our plan is to reduce the import of wheat by40%.Yes, traditionally, bread is made from wheat. But when God said man shall not live by breadalone, he was not referring to wheat bread, because bread can be made from other foods apartfrom wheat. We have demonstrated in Nigeria that cassava flour is a very good and healthiersubstitute for wheat flour in bread making.Let me address the issue of health and cassava flour. Cassava bread is good for you. Thestatements made by supporters of wheat flour that cassava consumption is not good for those withdiabetes is wholesomely untrue, scientifically baseless and is a deliberate attempt to misinformNigerians.What the supporters of wheat flour and wheat importation do not want Nigerians to know is thereis actually a way to measure how quickly sugar is released into the body from consuming anyfood item. This is called the glycemic index and the higher the level of the glycemic index, thehigher the chances of aggravating diabetes. Cassava flour has much lower glycemic index thanwheat flour. Wheat flour, which is what we are being told to consume, has a higher glycemicindex than cassava flour. So, which one is healthier for you: cassava flour or wheat flour? It isclear, it is cassava flour.Now, let me compare the glycemic index of cassava flour to some of the foreign foods that arebeing imported into Nigeria.Let us start with the French bread, popularly called ‘baquette’. The glycemic index for Frenchbread is 95, which puts it in the very high range for diabetes. Take the foods eaten by the British,the popular English Muffins have a glycemic index of 77, in the high range for diabetes. Nowtake whole wheat flour bread, which you all eat everyday, it has glycemic index of 71, again onthe high side. You all eat corn flakes every day, right? The glycemic index of corn flakes is 82,which is very high. Only100% whole wheat bread (that is the one in which the husk and the bran are intact) has aglycemic index of 51, which is close to that of cassava flour in Nigeria at 59.(Source: http://www.gilisting .com. Online glycemic index database).
  3. 3. It means that cassava flour is healthier than wheat flour, French bread, English Muffins andcornflakes! The fact is clear: cassava flour is good for your health. By including cassava flour inbread, we will be improving the health benefit of thebread we eat, since the lower level of glycemic index in cassava flour will help to reduce the highlevel of glycemic index in wheat flour.UTC, led by its indefatigable Managing Director, Mrs Olaniyan, led the way in commercializingthe inclusion of 20% high quality cassava flour in bread. The cassava bread is 60% cheaper, morenutritious and healthier than 100% white wheat flour bread.Cassava bread tastes and stores longer than wheat flour bread. Even the top-level AmericanGovernment delegation from the White House, who visited me in my office, ate the cassavabread and were surprised at the great taste of the cassava bread and its low level of gluten. Theformer Prime Minister of UK, Tony Blair, ate the cassava bread at the Villa and remarked that itwas great bread. The President of Malawi ate the cassava bread and remarked that it was verygood bread, and today Malawi has approached Nigeria to help her produce cassava bread. Theworld is noticing. But Nigerians are noticing even more. UTCs cassava bread, pastries, meatwraps, all from cassava flour, are on the market.It is not just about cassava bread. We are triggering an industrial revolution based on cassava. Asother countries in Africa want to embrace cassava bread and reduce their imports of wheat,Nigeria is well positioned to become the leader. We can export cassava flour for bread to othercountries. We are already exporting cassava chips to China, which will earn our farmers andprocessors 136 million US dollars.As cassava bread expands, several of the 156 SMEs producing cassava flour, which had closeddown before when flour mills stopped buying their flour few years ago, are now back in business.Government is upgrading their facilities so they can produce more cassava flour. Six of thoseSMEs for upgrade are in Ekiti State. Their fortunes will soon change.Ask Thai Farms. At the start of this administration, Thai farms, the largest producer of Highquality cassava flour was within 3 weeks of shutting down. Today, they work 24 hours per day, 6days a week, to meet rising demand for cassava flour by corporate bakers.We are also building our industrial capacity to produce enough cassava flour. Government hasalso facilitated the access to finance to import 18 large scale high quality cassava flour plantsfrom China. These plants will produce 1.3 million MT of cassava flour per year. This will makeNigeria the largest producer of cassava flour in the world. We will have all the cassava flour weneed to further our cassava substitution efforts in bread and confectionaries. Ekiti State has beenallocated one of these large scale cassava plants, with capacity of 240 MT per day. It will besupported by an outgrower farm network and farmers provided with mechanization, finance andfarm inputs.To get the cassava bread to the masses, it is critical to support our master bakers. Nigeria has over400, 000 master bakers. They need access to new equipments. They need access to finance. Theyneed access to training. This is why Mr President approved the establishment of the CassavaBread Development Fund. The fund, which comes from the levy on wheat and wheat flour, will
  4. 4. support training of the master bakers in cassava bread production; provide subsidized finance toallow them to invest in new rotary ovens, chillers and mixers.Government has also cut the levy on enzymes needed for cassava bread, from 10% to zeropercent and initiated moves to get the enzymes manufactured locally. Two private sectorcompanies are already working with the manufacturer of the cassava enzyme improvers in SouthAfrica, and this will create a new industry in Nigeria, which will further create jobs.I must thank the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. NgoziOkonjo-Iweala and the Director General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogwu, for theirstrong support for fiscal policies to accelerate development of the cassava bread and cassavaindustry.We are doing more. The Federal Government is facilitating the importation of 700 compact mills,which will decentralize private sector milling of wheat and mixing and production of premixcomposite cassava flour, to be sold directly to master bakers and households. This willstandardize the production of cassava flour and make it available in every nook and corner ofNigeria, and reduce the monopoly of the flour milling industry. These compact mills will be soldto young graduates and entrepreneurs, to create a new class of businesses called compact millers.The effort we are witnessing today is part of the strategy to get the cassava bread to Ekiti State.The MD of UTC is from Ekiti State, so this is home coming for her, after all, charity begins athome. But it begins with your Executive Governor, the dynamic and visionary and passionateGovernor Fayemi. The Governor is the one who made today possible. He made the resourcesavailable to train 150 master bakers. The Master bakers are being provided with the starter packsfor High quality cassava flour, including Enzymes which are provided by the Federal Ministry ofAgriculture and Rural Development.I understand the training of the master bakers by UTC went extremely well. I heard that themaster bakers even put in their own master touch and produced a bread much better than anyoneexpected! I can smell the aroma of the great cassava bread. I cant wait to eat the tasty cassavabread, home made in Ekiti State,the first state to achieve such a feat!What we are witnessing in Ekiti State will be replicated across the nation. Plans are underway bythe Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to continue to partner with Stategovernments in the training of master bakers and launching of cassava bread across all the 36states and Federal Capital Territory. Starter packs will be provided to master bakers in every stateto kick-off the commercialization of the cassava bread by more than 400,000 master bakersacross the country.Your Excellency, Executive Governor Dr. Fayemi, you are a handsome man. You look good. Asthe sweet aroma of Ekiti home baked cassava bread excites you to eat cassava bread, I canguarantee you that you will look even more handsome! You will look great! Your elegant DeputyGovernor will even be more beautiful! And all the good people of Ekiti State will be healthier,and the farmers of Ekiti State will be richer!
  5. 5. So, let us patronize the products of our farmers. Let us grow what we eat. Let us eat what wegrow. If it is not Nigerian grown and processed in Nigeria, it is not good enough for Nigerians.For only then will we create massive number of jobs for our youth and strengthen our economy.I congratulate the Government of Ekiti State for your remarkable efforts to make this day happen.You worked so hard to bring the master bakers, bread sellers and farmers together. And today weall see and taste the yummy cassava bread of Ekiti. I congratulate the 150 master bakers that havereceived their training on making cassava bread. I congratulate UTC for a wonderful job done.Let the production of healthy cassava bread begin in Ekiti State! This, after all is the land ofHonor.I just saw the new slogan JFK (John Kayode Fayemi) 1:1: "from this day forth, thou shall onlyeat cassava bread". That is wonderful.Buy local, eat local, grow the Nigerian economy!