Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cassava bread policy hostile to our business, says Flour Mills boss

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Only about five per cent of cassava can be used for baking.
The ‘Cassava bread policy’ is drowning other businesses and negatively impacting the agricultural business environment in Nigeria, the Chairman of Flour Mills Nigeria, George Coumantaros, said on Thursday.

Mr. Coumantaros said in Lagos that certain government policies on agriculture are impacting negatively on other businesses.

He said that the increase in the excise duties on imported wheat which is an effort by the government to increase the use of cassava flour for baking bread has its merits but is currently hurting bakers and wheat distributors in the country.

“The propagation of cassava bread is highly commendable because it will satisfy the food needs of the people to an extent. This is because it has nutrition values, but it cannot replace wheat flour because only about five per cent of cassava can be used for baking,” he said.

Mr. Coumantaro said the government was yet to convince the bakers on how to bake using 100 per cent cassava flour to meet the market demand that wheat flour satisfies.

“We are waiting for the recipe that can achieve it,’’ he said.

He appealed to the Federal Government to carry operators in all sectors along in its agricultural reform policies. Mr. Coumantaros commended government reforms in the sector, but cautioned that the reforms could only stand the test of time if they complimented existing policies.

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