Bakers ask Buhari regime for flour subsidy over bread price
Master Bakers Association on Thursday called on the federal government to subsidise the cost of cassava flour to encourage members to produce bread and other confectionery with the flour without incurring losses.
The chairman of the association in Rivers, Chidi Orlu, made the call in Port Harcourt during a capacity-building development for master bakers on the use of high-quality cassava flour for baking bread and other confectionery.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) organised the programme.
Mr Orlu said the current cost of cassava flour in the country had discouraged bread production and posed a serious challenge to the government’s effort towards stopping wheat importation for bread making.
He said it was cheaper to produce bread and other confectionery using wheat flour than cassava flour, pointing out that garri and cassava flour were made from the same raw material.
“For instance, you need 2.5kg of butter to produce good bread with 50 kilogrammes of cassava flour, while about 500g of butter can be used to produce bread with 50 kilogrammes of wheat flour.
“Inflation is now so high. Where do we get high-quality cassava flour, and if available, at what rate?
“If bakers decide to use cassava flour, the demand for cassava will be massive, and that will make it difficult for some farmers to meet the demand from bakers.
“All over the world, when you start a project of this nature, the desire may not be achieved at the beginning; it’s something you get in the long run,” he said.
Earlier in a keynote address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, said the government’s agriculture policy was poised to build an agribusiness ecosystem that would address the challenges in the agricultural sector.
The minister, represented by the South-South zonal director, FMARD, Michael Brooks, said the promotion and adoption of 20 per cent cassava flour in bread and confectionery to reduce wheat importation had been on.
Mr Abubakar said the government programme could generate mass employment, save the country billions of naira in wheat importation daily and eliminate hunger, among others.
“However, the cassava inclusion policy implementation has failed to achieve desired objectives of master bakers’ demand for cassava flour due to certain challenges which stakeholders are trying to address at present,” he said.
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