Africa’s first cassava-based sorbitol factory, constructed by Psaltry International Limited (PIL) in partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Unilever Nigeria, has been commissioned by the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde in Iseyin, Oyo State.
Speaking at the commissioning of the factory, Governor Makinde said: “This is another valuable addition to Cassava, which Oyo State is known to produce in large quantities. We are glad that the strategies adopted to boost agribusiness in the state are yielding the desired results.
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“We believe there cannot be urban transformation without rural development. Our government is in full support of Psaltry International Company Limited.”
Describing the economic impact of the Sorbitol factory, the Founder/CEO, Psaltry International, Mrs. Oluyemisi Iranloye, said: “This factory, which is the first of its kind in Africa is projected to create 25,000 direct and indirect jobs while empowering 10,000 rural farmers and families living within an 80km radius covering more than 20 host communities around Oke-Ogun in Iseyin, Oyo State.
“The factory, which will produce 24 tons of Cassava-based Sorbitol daily, was financed by FCMB through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and has Unilever as the largest off-taker as part of its localisation of raw materials for production. Also called sugar alcohol, Sorbitol is used to preserve moisture, add sweetness, provide texture to products, and potentially support digestive and oral health.”
She added that the aim is to reduce the challenges facing manufacturers who import Sorbitol into Nigeria, a product that is 90% major ingredient in toothpaste and pharmaceutical syrup production.
“In addition to employment opportunities for youths and farmers, the factory will directly impact a minimum of 100,000 people around the host community. It will also save Nigeria about 10m US dollars per annum in Forex.”
Commenting on the development, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs Yemisi Edun, restated the commitment of the Bank to food security and import substitution in Nigeria by growing its lending to the agricultural sector from 53.6 billion in half-year 2021 to 87.9 billion by half-year 2022, representing a 16.5% growth.