Plantain is a food crop that can be grown and processed profitably in Nigeria. Plantain is a major source of food in many regions throughout Nigeria. Study shows that the production of plantain is over 80 million metric tones per year. Despite this figure, demand still outstrips supply. That is why I want to put you through on what it takes to start a plantain flour mill so that you can tap from this opportunity.
Plantain can either be used for domestic consumption or used as input by other producers. For instance, plantain can be processed into chips or flour and sold locally or export abroad.
Plantain flour has now become a popular food today in both local and international market. In Nigeria, the potential national demand for plantain flour has been estimated to be in excess of 300,000 Tonnes/Annul.
The current supply level is probably less than 20% of the estimated demand with only few companies producing on mechanized and commercial scale.
The facilities required for a small/medium scale plantain flour mill include drying machine, slicing/chipping machine, milling machine and packaging machine.
The average production cost per Kg of plantain flour is N236, while the average retail price per Kg of good quality plantain flour is N330 per Kg.
Plantain is the major raw material for plantain flour production, and it is available all year round in commercial quantities in many parts of Nigeria. Nigeria is said to be the largest producer of plantain in West Africa.
The processing line for plantain flour production is as follows:
Sorting: This involves inspection of plantain fingers to identify and remove unsuitable ones i.e. spoilt, immature pulps e.t.c.
Weighing: The sorted plantains are properly weighed to quantify input of the raw plantain.
Blanching: The green plantain fruits are soaked in hot water for some minutes to soften the skin for easy peeling.
Peeling: The plantain peels are removed manually using sharp knives to obtain the pulp.
Slicing/Chipping: The pulp is sliced or chipped with the aid of a mechanical slicer.
Drying: The sliced plantain is dried in a short time with the aid of an industrial drying machine.
Milling: The dried plantain slices/chips are milled in a hammer mill.
Sieving: The flour is sieved to obtain the desire particle size.
Packaging: The flour is packaged in moisture proof packaging material ready for sale.
Now, if you operate a plantain flour mill that has the capacity to process 1tone of plantain flour per day, and you implement a good and efficient marketing strategy, the following average monthly figures are true:
Production volume per month = 29tones (29000Kg)
Sales = N9, 570,000
Direct cost of sales = N6, 844,000
Miscellaneous = N500,000
Profit per month = N2,226,000.
Plantain flour mill can be operated profitably any where in Nigeria. The start-up cost at a small scale is approximately N6,000,000. This will cover the cost of procurement of land, factory construction,
furniture, vehicle and procurement/installation of machinery.