Cassava Sweetners’ll Serve Industries – Expert

The Project Director, Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, Prof. Kolawole Adebayo, has said if Nigeria is serious about the diversification of the economy, it will invest in the cassava value chain, as sweeteners which are needed in beverage and confectionery industries can be generated from it.
He said this in an interview with our correspondent in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
The professor of rural development communication at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta noted that the country could generate huge foreign exchange from the development of sweeteners.
In order to achieve this, he said, “The Federal Government must invest in the processing aspect of the cassava value chain. From the value chain, there many derivatives one can get from cassava.
“Sweeteners form a veritable part, they are used in beverage, confectionery and pharmaceutical industries.
Adebayo, who manages the project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, advised that in order to further boost the development of the cassava sector, government should not encourage its export.
He said the country had a market large enough locally than to worry about exporting.
He said, “The additional reason we shouldn’t worry about export is that currently our cassava cultivation is not internationally competitive.
“It is more expensive to grow cassava in Nigeria than in China or Island. So, if we put our cassava on the international market, it will be too expensive for anybody to be interested in it.”
Adebayo noted that 20 per cent cassava inclusion in bread production would save the country a huge foreign exchange that should have been spent on the importation of wheat.
He said another derivative that could be processed from cassava is gluten.
He said, “Now everybody is looking for low gluten bread. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Low gluten bread is a healthier option then the full gluten bread that we eat in Nigeria.
“And how do you achieve low gluten bread? By diluting the wheat with non-gluten wheat flour; so, cassava is zero gluten flour. If you have high quality cassava flour, you will dilute the wheat with it then you have lower gluten bread and it is even healthier to eat than the full gluten bread that we eat in the country.

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