Group launches plantain bread to boost economic diversification

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

A youth group under the auspices of Concerned Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria has launched the first ever plantain Bread in Nigeria to support the diversification efforts of the federal government.

The launch which took place at the National Press Centre in Abuja Nigeria’s Capital witnessed various stakeholders show support for the development.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development chief Audu Ogbeh who was represented by the Deputy Director Gender and Youth of the ministry Mrs. Karima Babangida said plantain bread is a laudable initiative which is a clear indication that group  committed to changing the fortune of Nigerian youths through.

“Developing noble products from crops grown locally such as plantain is very important because apart from the health benefits to be derived, it also has the potentials of creating jobs along the value chain and by extension off course eliminating poverty in the country”    

“Present administration has identified agriculture as single most critical sector that has the potential for mass job creation needed to tackle the issue of youth unemployment and likewise the agriculture needs youth participation to change the labour composition and replace the aging  farming population….while modernizing the processes through innovation and creativity just like the plantain bread” she added.

While speaking to newsmen at the launch, the president of Concerned Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria Comrade Noble Adaelu said the initiative is born out of the desire to use farm produce to help cut down the high rate of food importation into the country so as to build the value of the naira.

He said the initiative will create jobs for the teeming youth in the country and also provide a ready market for plantain farmers

“We will employ people who will be doing the peeling, slicing, pounding and sieving because it is a long process and it will increase the demand for plantain and create a competition among farmers to meet up with the demand”

Comrade Adaelu however appealed to the federal government to show more support for the youths in the country by making the process of accessing loans from the banks easier for them.

He said the process of accessing loans right now is not youth friendly as some of the documents demanded by the banks to enable them facilitate the loans; an average Nigerian youth do not have them.

On his part, the Director General/CEO of the National Board for technology Incubation Engr. Mohammed Jibrin said depending only on wheat flour for bread production is denying Nigeria’s economy the opportunity to flourish.

“This event showcases a commendable  food innovation, it is commendable for the fact that achieving the plantain bread would save  billions of dollars for our dear country battling recession as Nigeria spends 6 Billion Dollars annually on wheat importation and produces only three percent of the wheat it consumes”

“The innovation also is commendable for the fact that plantain bread is more nutritious than the much craved wheat bread and even more commendable for being an innovative channel for enterprise multiplicity leading to wealth creation”  he added

The plantain particularly the unripe ones are highly nutritious as it is high in iron and comes highly recommended for people with special health needs in Nigeria.