Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says absence of sure-bake yeast, a baking ingredient, in the country was hampering the inclusion of cassava in bread.
Ogbeh said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
NAN reports that sure-bake yeast is a blend of active dry yeast and bread improver which makes bread-making easier and is recommended for bread-making.
The minister however disclosed that the problem would soon be solved as a U.S.-based Nigerian had agreed to commence the production of the ingredient in the country.
“There are issues with cassava bread which we are trying to resolve now.
“There is something called sure-bake yeast which they say we must add to cassava, otherwise, the bread won’t rise and that has been an issue with the bakers.
“The Nigerian in the U.S. said he would come and produce it here. We have heard that there is a glut of cassava and that is why the farmers are not harvesting now,’’ he said.
The minister noted that government was ready to support the private sector for the production of industrial starch and syrups from cassava.
“We are also moving into high grade industrial starch and syrups, but again, to build those factories, you use stainless steel equipment and they cost money.
“We are talking of five to 10 million dollars to set up such a factory. Nobody can borrow that from a bank in Nigeria and survive.
“That is why we are looking for funds and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is helping to find funds to give people who want to invest in the processing,’’ he said.
The Federal Government under former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2014, launched the first commercial 10 per cent composite cassava flour in bread.
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, former Minister of Agriculture, said at the launch that government’s goal was to ensure Nigeria became the largest cassava processor as it had been the largest producer of the commodity in the world.