By Cynthia Alo
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Unilever Nigeria have partnered Psaltry International Limited (PIL) to start Africa’s first cassava-based Sorbitol factory in Oyo state.
Speaking at the commissioning of the factory, Oyo state governor, Oluseyi Makinde, said, “This is another value 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. Our government is in full support of Psaltry International Company Limited”.
Describing the economic impact of the Sorbitol factory, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 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.”
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 percent growth. She said, “We are proud to have financed the first Cassava-based Sorbitol factory in Africa and excited that it has come on stream. It is another example of our commitment to developing domestic industries and reducing reliance on foreign imports.” Commenting, 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.”