PSALTRY International Company Limited, one of the investors in the Nigerian cassava industry, has said that the country has started benefiting from its investment as the import substitution policy of the Federal Government in cassava starch has earned it $4 million (about N1.22 billion) in the financial year ended 2016.
The company stated that Nigerian Breweries, NB Plc, is the biggest buyer of its cassava starch, followed by Nestle Nigeria Plc and Yale Foods, Ibadan. Cassava starch is used by manufacturing companies as binder and to produce sugar, that is, maltose. Oluyemisi Iranloye, the company’s Managing Director/CEO, disclosed this during an interactive session with the media in Oyo State. She said, “We started production in 2013. You could imagine the amount of foreign exchange that only this company is saving Nigeria in import substitution every year, it’s quite huge – $4 million dollars in 2016. Nigerian Breweries takes about 60 per cent of our total production in a year, Nestle 30 per cent and Yale Foods 10 per cent. “When the price of dollar went up there was rush for our products. In fact, I don’t know where to start and end because those who were not buying from us before and who were importing could not import anymore. Today, we have big clienteles, even May & Baker, Unilever and some packaging companies are coming to us.
So, we are trying to build capacity to meet their demands.” Fielding question on production capacity, she stated: “We have two lines producing 20-30 metric tonnes per day that is a total of 50 tonnes or two trailer loads every day. The annual capacity is 10,000 metric tonnes but we are doing 6,000 metric tonnes now.” She commended Nigerian Breweries, saying, “one of the good things NB did is that they give us advance payment so that our cash flow can be better and we were able to pay farmers as they supplied raw materials. We needed the money to come in quickly so that we can meet up in paying the farmers.” On future outlook, she said: “We want our farmers to start having shares in the company. That is our 2018/2019 focus. Farmers who have been with us will start having shares.” She also stated that the N1 billion project which is funded by First Bank of Nigeria and First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has grown its staff base from 10 when it began operation eight years ago, to about 400 people.