Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has begun a mission to introduce African countries to Nigeria’s innovation in bakery, Cassava Bread.
Mr. Obasanjo, a goodwill ambassador for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, recently took the bread to Tanzania where he publicly munched the bread with the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mrisho Jakaya Kikwete.
Former President Benjamin Mkapa of the United Republic of Tanzania also ate the bread for the first time. The leaders supported the innovation, noting that it would bring several benefits to the continent.
The 40 per cent cassava bread was first developed by IITA in Nigeria, as part of efforts to boost the utilization of cassava and create market for farmers.
President Kikwete after inaugurating the IITA Science Building in Dar es Salaam on Monday commended IITA for the bread technology, saying that the bread had an “excellent” taste.
“There is no difference between this bread and the normal bread we are used to,” he added.
Mr. Obasanjo encouraged the Tanzania President to promote the use of cassava in confectionaries in his country to transform agriculture. He noted that the use of cassava flour in bread would stimulate the demand for the root crop, create jobs and, more importantly, make farmers proud.
Mr. Obasanjo, in 2002 initiated a policy on 10 percent inclusion in bread under “the Presidential Initiative on Cassava,” program. The program which was implemented by IITA and national partners, drove the demand for cassava, increased productivity by about 10 million tons in 6 years, and made Nigeria the top world producer of cassava.