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Friday, August 16, 2013

FMARD inaugurates Oversight Committee on Cassava Bread Fund


The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has inaugurated a 16-man Oversight Committee on Cassava Bread Fund, following an earlier presidential approval for the fund.

At the inaugural meeting, held at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, met with representatives of Master Bakers’ Association of Nigeria, Cassava Growers’ Association of Nigeria, National Cassava Processors and Millers Association of Nigeria, Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company (DADTCO), Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, C:AVA, Budget Office of the Federation and officials of the ministry.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that in his remarks, Dr. Adesina noted that the approval of the fund will reduce the huge expenses incurred by the federal government on importation of wheat, estimated at N635 billion annually. He stressed that research by Lake Chad Research Institute has resulted in the release of three tropical high-yielding wheat varieties with yield record of 5.0 to 6.2 tons per hectare. 

The minister, stressed the need to be transparent and accountable in judicious use of the fund by the committee, which had the tasks of building robust fresh roots supply chains for cassava processing plants; supporting large/medium High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) mills, SMEs producing HQCF and masters bakers on 20 per cent HQCF cassava bread production; social marketing of 20 per cent cassavas bread and pre-emptive measures against cassava brown streak disease.

At the meeting, it was decided that a total of 5,000 bakers will be trained and supported at six bakers per local government area across the 774 LGAs.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the inaugural meeting witnessed an agreement that Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) be co-opted into the committee and that the initiative will operate as a revolving fund facility to support both cassava bread and local wheat production.

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