Bakers call for waivers on enzymes critical for cassava bread production

Nigerian corporate bakers, who have commenced production of cassava bread, have called on the federal government to give them import duty waiver on enzymes (magic solutions) in high quality cassava flour recipes, which they claim are imported at high costs, brought about by high freighting costs, BusinessDay can reveal. 

Without these enzymes, cassava bread manufacturing will fail since high quality cassava flour does not contain gluten, a vital component for bread baking. These enzymes are not available in Nigeria.
The CEOs of UTC Nigeria Plc, Folusho Olaniyan and Food Concepts, Deji Akinyanju, bakers of UTC Bread and Butterfield Bread, revealed this fact at the launch of the commerciacialised high quality cassava-based bread held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Saturday.

According to Olaniyan: “Our magic solutions (enzymes) in the high quality cassava flour recipes, have come to us at relatively high costs due to high freighting costs. They are a necessity for success because of the absence of gluten in high quality cassava flour. We solicit for the Federal Government’s support in getting waivers on the import duty for bakery equipment and enzymes pending the time enzymes can be locally manufactured. We also appeal to the Federal Government to support us with a marketing campaign which we, the stakeholders, will actively participate in formulating in order to achieve maximum results.”
Akinyanju said, “We require a waiver on duty for both the equipment and enzymes that we need to import from abroad. With minimal grants to fund additional equipment we will be able to automate our processes which will increase our efficiencies and capacity to deliver to feeding programmes nation wide.”

Foluso Olaniyan gave a progress report of her company’s drive to make cassava bread: “At UTC, we envisaged this move would be successful, and as such painted a clear picture of our goal in our minds. We were passionate about our goal, despite the fact that we were unsure of how or when these goals would be achieved…We encountered several setbacks, but were able to find a path around and over these obstacles. We took risks and it paid off.

“After 92 trials and almost three months from the date of our initial trial, we were able to crack the nut, and in February 2012 we achieved a sustainable commercial recipe for White Bread and Wheat Grain Bread with 20 per cent high quality cassava flour inclusion. We also standardized and commercialized our Cakes and Chopsy Beef Roll recipe with 30 per cent high quality cassava flour inclusion. With our monthly consumption of high quality cassava flour currently standing at 65 tonnes, we can be regarded as the single highest consumer of high quality cassava flour in the baking industry.”

UTC intends to stay ahead of the competition, and as such has moved on quickly to introduce the vegetarian range of snacks made from high quality cassava flour.

Olaniyan added: “From the Federal Government, we solicit support, in form of a grant to alleviate the effects of the costs we have incurred as a result of the trials which have now culminated in the commercialized high quality cassava bread we are launching today. As a profit-oriented organization, we have identified the need for speed because time is hostile to the businessman. Our experience echoes the fact that even new products have an increasingly limited window before being replaced or copied; hence our resolution to ensure we roll out at least two new products per year.

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