Wheat price hikes : Bakers begin considering alternatives

Bakers in Cameroon have started considering using alternatives to wheat flour for large scale production of bread and other pastries as flour prices scale up .

The cost of a bag of flour has risen by 3000frs in recent weeks. Fifty kilograms of flour which previously costed 20,000 frs now sells for 23.000frs.

The price hikes have been reportedly triggered by shortage of wheat in most supplying countries, especially Russia, Cameroon’s main supplier. The #COVID19 pandemic seriously affected agricultural activities in most of these countries.

To prevent the price hikes from getting out of control, the government has started discussing  new trade deals with Turkey which may be able to supply about 600,000 tons of flour to Cameroon annually.

Flour alternatives

As the cost of flour becomes a concern in Cameroon, many bakers have begun turning to alternative sources of flour.

For many, the most available alternative is flour obtained from tubers like potato, cassava and plantains for large scale production of bread, cakes, biscuits and other pastries.

Ernest Claude Ewoty Ndjie , CEO of a Start Up known as “ENEC CROISSANCE” is one of them. He believes that flour can be obtained from most tubers and use in making bread and other pastries.

Since May 2015, he has succeeded in making cakes, peanuts, biscuits, chin chin , and puff balls using flour obtained from cassava peels.

Nutritive value of Cassava Peels

According to Ernest Claude Ewoty Ndjie, cassava peels flour is as nutritive as cassava tubers . An analysis of the flour by the Ministry of Scientific Research, and the Douala Technical Centre for Agri-food shows that cassava peels contains protein, fiber, lipids,calcium,
potassium, iron, zinc, sodium and
Vitamins C$D.

Other bakers use flour gotten from Cassava , potatoes and plantains to make bread and l pastries, but on a very low scale.

Regardless, the real concern is how to increase local production of wheat and these tubers which are fast becoming a treasured alternative to wheat flour.

Wheat, millet, and  sorghum is grown in the Adamawa region of Cameroon. But annual wheat production cannot meet the country’s demand for flour.

If bakers in Cameroon will switch to alternative flour, or farmers definitely have to increase local production of tubers and plantains which will be processed into flour.

 

Kathy Neba Sina 

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