Unilever Nigeria and FCMB partner with Psaltry International to deliver Africa’s first cassava-based sorbitol plant

Oyo State: August 5, 2022: Africa’s first cassava-based sorbitol plant, built by Psaltry International Limited (PIL) in partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Unilever Nigeria, was commissioned in an impressive ceremony by the Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, in Iseyin, Oyo State.
Speaking during the commissioning of the plant, Governor Makinde, said: “tThis is another added value to cassava which Oyo State is known to produce in large quantities. We are happy that the strategies adopted to boost agribusiness in the state are yielding the desired results. We believe that there can be no urban transformation without rural development. Our government fully supports Psaltry International Company Limited.”

Describing the socio-economic impact of the Sorbitol plant, Psaltry International Founder/CEO Ms Oluyemisi Iranloye said: “this factory, the first of its kind in Africa, is expected to create 25,000 direct and indirect jobs while empowering 10,000 rural farmers and families living within an 80 km radius covering more than 20 host communities around Oke-Ogun in Iseyin , in Oyo State. The plant, which will produce 24 tons of cassava-based sorbitol per day, was funded by the FCMB through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and has Unilever as the lead buyer under its location of raw materials for production. Also called sugar alcohol, sorbitol is used to lock in moisture, add sweetness, add texture to products, and potentially support digestive and oral health..”

She added that coming to the factory is a journey of courage, resilience and daring to excel in the global cassava value chain beyond the norm. The aim is to reduce the difficulties faced by manufacturers who import sorbitol into Nigeria, a product which is 90% a major ingredient in the production of toothpaste and pharmaceutical syrup. In addition to job opportunities for youth and farmers, the plant will directly impact a minimum of 100,000 people around the host community. It will also save Nigeria about US$10 million per year in Forex trading.
Unilever West Africa Managing Director Carl Cruz said:Unilever is pleased to be part of this initiative in line with its localization program to source raw materials locally in Nigeria. Thanks to our sustained investments in localization, we have strengthened the capacity of partners to increase their production of sorbitol and cassava starch. This has reduced our reliance on imported raw materials for our local production and allowed us to create jobs for factory workers, agronomists, administrative support, harvesters, pruners and suppliers..”

He further said that supporting Psaltry International was part of Unilever Nigeria’s determination to empower women and people with disabilities owned or led by businesses through its social procurement initiative. “Through this initiative, we want to break down the prejudices against women and people with disabilities in companies. These biases prevent them from maximizing their full potential. This is part of our deliberate measures to ensure our supply chain is more diverse and inclusive..” Cruz says.

Commenting on the development, FCMB Managing Director, Ms. Yemisi Edun, reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to championing and supporting initiatives that would create wealth and accelerate national development in all sectors of the economy, particularly in agro-industry.

According to her, “we are proud to finance the sorbitol plant of Psaltry Limited and delighted that the project is going ahead. This is another example of our commitment to promoting Nigeria’s industrial development as well as creating opportunities for local businesses to compete globally and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area. In addition, it will help create jobs, especially for young people and women in the city of Iseyin and its surroundings, improve income levels, living standards and reduce rural exodus..”

Psaltry International Company Limited was founded in 2005 for marketing cassava products, elevating agricultural activities in rural areas and producing food grade starch and high quality cassava flour from cassava. The company established its 20 tons per day starch plant in 2012 and an additional 30 tons per day capacity production line in 2015 to meet more customers’ demands and satisfaction.