Cassava bread: Ministry, BoI seal N4.3bn pact

Date:

Minister-of-Agriculture-and-Rural-Development-Dr.-Akinwumi-Adesina1The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Bank of Industry on Tuesday sealed a N4.3bn pact for the production of cassava bread.

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The agreement jointly signed in Abuja by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, and the Managing Director, BoI, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, would enable the bank to provide a facility that would support master bakers, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and large industrial cassava flour millers.

The agreement is coming two weeks after the ministry sealed a N2.4bn pact with the Bank of Agriculture to support about 30,000 farmers to begin commercial production of cassava.

Adesina said the deal was part of measures to break the country’s dependence on food imports and encourage local farmers and the private sector to build an agricultural sector that would make Nigeria a powerhouse in food production in Africa and globally.

He said since Nigeria was the largest producer of cassava in the world, the Federal Government was determined to make the country the largest processor of the produce in the world.

This, he said, could only be achieved with the use of cassava for the production of high quality flour to replace some of the wheat being currently imported.

He said the production of starch, chips, ethanol and sweeteners from cassava would also help in boosting the use of the produce.

Under the agreement with the BoI, Adesina said a total of N1.05bn would be used to upgrade the capacity of 35 existing small cassava flourmills.

This support, he added, would be provided as 50 per cent loan and 50 per cent grant.

The BoI, the minister explained, would provide a working capital of N425m as loans to the SME cassava flour processors at a single- digit interest rate.

For the medium and large cassava flour millers, Adesina said the bank would also provide N468m as working capital loans at a single-digit interest rate.

The minister noted that in addition, the facility would make available of N2.2bn to support master bakers and industrial bakers, who would be given 50 per cent loans and the same percentage as grants to enable them to acquire new machinery.

Responding, Oputu said the deal was part of the bank’s efforts to catalyse industrialisation in the country.

She expressed optimism that with the intervention fund, the bank would be able to contribute significantly to the development of the cassava value chain.

 

 

[Punch]

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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