Making bread: Has Cameroon found the missing ingredient?

Faced with increases in the price of flour on the global market, a group of Cameroonian farmers propose to make bread with cassava root. Everyone stands to benefit from it but unless the Cameroonian President takes action, nothing can change.

By Anne-Mireille Nzouankeu

Since 2008, the Citizen’s Association for the Preservation of Public Interest (ACDIC), made up of farmers, carries studies and proposes to incorporate 10% of the flour from cassava roots produced locally, to imported whole wheat flour.

« The consumer won’t notice a change at the level of taste but the bread will have a richer taste and will feel heavier”, explains Bernard Njonga, coordinater at l’Acdic. He explains that if more than 10% of the cassava root flour is incorporated, the bread will become heavy and will not break into crusts. The association also proposes to incorporate 30% of potato flour which is a bit sweet into the production of pastries. This could help reduce the cost of the sugar used in the cakes.

Adding local flour will help reduce the cost of bread as well as the dependence on imports, and at the same time help local agriculture develop. However – the project must overcome certain obstacles if it is to be

Difficult working conditions of farmers
The association regularly runs demonstrations and tasting sessions. After meeting up at the ACDIC headquarters and experimenting with the locally produced cassava root flour, the farmers were so convinced by the results that they approached barkers who agreed to use the local flour but under certain conditions.

« Bakers want flour in uniform colours, with the same level of humidity and granularity. In other words, when you grind the flour, it should be just as refined at normal flour. But the farmers are unable to respect these conditions,” explains Bernard Djonga.

Political action
The conditions of bakers are impossible to replicate by farmers, which is why it is necessary to have an industrialisation. The industries say that they are waiting for political action before they make an investment.

« The head of state must decide that bread consumed in Cameroon from now on will be enriched with 10% of local flour. This decision will liberate investors and manufacturers from concerns about getting involved and will help them to produce and transform local flour”, explains Bernard Njonga.

According to studies carried out by ACDIC, the incorporation of 10% of local flour into bread will save the Cameroonian state 100 million euros net per year.

Furthermore, it could stimulate agricultural production and create 49,000 jobs and more factories producing flour. Since 2008, and despite numerous efforts of ADCIC, Cameroon is still waiting for political action.


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