Investing in Yam Production and Packaging Plant for Export



The Central Bank of Nigeria (C.B.N) is presently disbursing the sum of N26billion intervention fund for agricultural small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The scheme called the Agriculture and Small & Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGMSMEIS) was pooled together by banks and is set to provide funding for small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria.
Prospective investors into Agriculture, such as cassava can benefit from the scheme.

There is no doubt that Nigeria produces yam in abundant. In every state of the country, yam is available.
It is estimated that over 30% of the harvested yam tubers are lost as waste due to non- availability of processing and preservation mechanism. Even the traditional processing method is out modelled and laborious but also grossly inefficient for mass production to satisfy the teeming population and local demand and also make room for the export market to earn scarce foreign exchange that is badly needed at this time of the country.

A cherished delicacy when served with well-prepared soup. Its processing shelf life, adds value to the tubers, before being exported to enhance their economic value, reduces wastes and cuts down the cost of transporting the product to longer distances compared with the heavy wet tubers that are unprocessed.
The fact that this can be preserved helps to stabilise prices during the off- harvest season.

Technical Considerations
The plant aimed at here will take drudgery off the processor, increase the output as well as give good quality finished product for export. Its rated capacity is 300 metric tonnes (MT) of finished yam flour per year (8) hours per day and 250 days in one year) after allowing about 2.5% waste. This means that about 1, 500 MT of raw tubers will be needed per annum.
The machinery and equipment needed to process yam flour are:
(a) Yam peeler (d) Milling machine
(b) Boiler (e) Scale
(c) Drying machine (f) Bag sealing machine
(g) Packing machine
All the above machines and process technology are source able locally.
The spare parts are abundant and readily available while the cost is affordable and maintenance cheap. For details contact the writer.

Production Process
Briefly, the processes involved in yam flour production are
(1) Procurement of good quality tubers, weighing and washing of them
(2) Peeling the washed tubers. This is preferably done manually because the peeling machine is difficult to fabricate locally.
(3) Grinding of the peeled tubes into pulp
(4) Drying of the ground yam pulp
(5) Milling the dried pulp
(6) Sieving to avoid having lumps when being prepared for eating
(7) Bagging and packaging in cellophane (2kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg and 50kg)

Raw Materials
The raw materials needed are wet yam tubers. These are obtainable from farms cultivated by plantation, small holder and co-operative farmers.
If there is a country that should take this project very seriously it is Nigeria.
It is the world’s largest producer of yams (over six million metric tonnes) accounting for over 50% of its output. Of this output, only about 5% (300, 000 MT) is put into industrial use by way of chips and flour.
The states in Nigeria most noted for yam tuber production are Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Niger, Sokoto, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Federal Capital Territory etc.

The Market
The market is both local and international. The later market should be targeted where there is preponderance of inhabitants of African descent. The factors that positively affect the demand for this product include the prevalence of foreign exchange crunch (which has left many with little personal disposable income to import food items), the increase in population of the country, the fact that its consumption cuts across demographic classes, income levels and religions boundaries etc.
The products can be sold to other parts of the world including Britain, America and other ECOWAS Countries, for details contact the writer.

The best place to, locate this project is the area where yam tubers are obtained in abundance. The tubers are perishable commodity. Besides, they are heavy and so transport and expense is an important cost inputs that should seriously be considered and reduced to increase profit for the promoter. Other factors to be considered include:
(a) Availability of labor and raw materials in commercial quantity
(b) Availability and serviceability of infrastructural facilities (light, water, access road etc)
(c) Ease or otherwise of the accessibility of the plant site to urban area/market both for local consumption and export etc.
To accommodate the plant, one needs a large building with a land area of about 1, 500m2.

Labour Requirement
About 15 persons will be needed to cover all the aspects of the project purchasing, administration, production, security, marketing etc.
A comprehensive bankable and up-to date business plan is needed to back up the loan application. Any prospective promoter is advised to approach an experienced industrial projects development consultant for assistance. The actual cost at the time of implementation will be determined by the scale of operation sought and after the business plan has been prepared.

Financial Implications
Investment depends on how much that the prospective investor has earmarked for this project. The modern water project demands large sum of money to procure all the required hi-tech machines. From estimation, the project can be set up with the sum of N50.58million as shown below.
For details on preparation of comprehensive & bankable feasibility studies/ report, sourcing & installation of quality & durable machines; Recruitment & Training, Sourcing of Investment funds please contact the writer.

The implementation of this will have the following advantages among others
(a) Creation of job opportunities
(b) Opening up of the rural areas
(c) Poverty alleviation among the yam growers and processors
(d) Enhancement of economic and social well-being of the promoters
(f) The processing of otherwise wasting agricultural produce into animal feeds
(g) Export opportunities etc.
Aggressive and serious promoters are encouraged to give this project a shot. For details please contact the writer,
Uba Godwin
Global Trust Consulting,
56, Ishaga Road (1st floor), Surulere, Lagos
Tel: 08023664368, 08034494437