The federal government will import bread enhancing enzymes and allied products from South Africa and China in pursuance of its use of cassava to make bread in Nigeria, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Wednesday.
The enzymes are used to enhance the ability of bread to rise and are not produced in Nigeria.
She said the 65 percent levy imposed on wheat importation by President Goodluck Jonathan which has taken effect was to discourage importation of same and a zero duty would now apply to cassava bread enhancers to encourage the use of cassava in bread.
The bread enhancers used to attract 10 percent duty but starting from July 15, importers of the product will no longer pay duties.
She said these at a session with the Nigerian Master Bakers Association and flour millers.
The minister said the proceeds from 65 percent levy on wheat would be used to create a cassava development fund.
The fund would be used to support scientific research in the cassava value chain as it relates to bread and training of bakers in the new method across the country as well as decentralizing milling in the country.
The fund will be resident at the fiscal department of the Budget Office of the federation, she said.
The Directors-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Budget Office of the Federation, ministers of finance and agriculture would constitute the pioneer board of the fund, Okonjo-Iweala said.
Earlier, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina urged bakers and millers to support the federal government to achieve its aim of having bread made with 40 percent cassava.
They need support in equipment such as chillers, mixers among others he said.
He said: "We need enzymes to make the bread rise which we don't produce in Nigeria. It will be imported from South Africa, in the mean time. A new cluster will be built to produce the enhancers."
Eighteen high quality cassava flour enhancers would be imported from China which would enable Nigeria process 1.4 metric tons of cassava flour, the minister announced in addition to support to be rendered to farmers to grow sufficient cassava for the millers.