NIGERIA – Psaltry International Company, a Nigerian agro-processing company, has cut ribbon to Africa’s first cassava-based sorbitol factory in Oyo State.
Sorbitol, also known as sugar alcohol, is used in the preservation of moisture, add sweetness, provide texture to products, and potentially support digestive and oral health.
The new factory, with an expected daily production capacity of 24 tons Cassava-based Sorbitol, was established in partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) who offered financial support through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, reports The Guardian Nigeria.
In addition, consumer goods company Unilever, is a key player in the initiative as it will act as the largest off-taker of the produced commodity in line with the country’s localisation raw materials sourcing.
Managing Director, Unilever West Africa, Carl Cruz, said, “Unilever is pleased to be part of this initiative in line with its localisation agenda to source raw materials locally in Nigeria.
“With our sustained investment on localisation, we have enhanced the capacity of partners to increase their production output in sorbitol and cassava starch.
“This has reduced our dependence on importation of raw materials for our local production and enabled us to generate employment for factory workers, agronomists, back-office support, harvesters, pruners, and suppliers.”
Describing the socio-economic impact of the Sorbitol factory, the Founder/CEO, Psaltry International, Mrs Oluyemisi Iranloye, highlighted that the factory is projected to create 25,000 direct and indirect jobs while empowering 10,000 rural farmers and families in the region.
In addition to employment opportunities for youths and farmers, the factory will also save Nigeria about US$10m per annum in Forex utilized in importation of the highly sort after ingredient Sorbitol.
She added that landing the factory is a journey of courage, resilience, and boldness to excel in the world’s cassava value chain beyond the norm.
Sorbitol is mostly made from potato starch however Psaltry has decided to utilize cassava as an alternative as the West African country is endowed with the crop.
Nigeria is the largest cassava producer globally, accounting for about one-fifth (21%) of total production worldwide.
Commenting on the development, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs Yemisi Edun, restated the commitment of the Bank to championing and supporting initiatives that would create wealth and fast-track national development across all sectors of the economy, especially in agribusiness.
Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, said, “This is another value addition to cassava which Oyo State is known to produce in large quantity. We are glad that the strategies adopted to boost agribusiness in the state are yielding the desired results.
“We believe there cannot be urban transformation without rural development. Our government is in full support of Psaltry International Company Limited.”
Psaltry International Company Limited was founded in 2005 for the marketing of cassava produce, the elevation of farming business in rural areas and the production of food-grade starch and high-quality cassava flour from Cassava.
The company established its 20 tons per day starch factory in 2012 and an additional production line of 30 tons per day capacity in 2015 to meet more customer demands and satisfaction.