Yam is available everywhere in Nigeria and it is estimated that 40 per cent of the harvested tubers are lost or wasted due to lack of good processing method. This has led to gross inefficiency in production and inability to satisfy the local and export demand year round. The processing of yam increases its economic revenue reduces wastes and cuts down the cost of transportation / exportation as compared to the raw state (tuber).
The setting up of yam flour production project is feasible considering the under listed steps:
The plant will take hard work off the processor, but it will increase the output as well as give good quality finished products for local and export market. Its rated capacity is 500 metric tons of finished yam flour per year (8 hours per day of 250 days in a year after allowing about 2.5 percent waste). This means that about 1,500 metric tons of raw yam tubers will be needed per annum. The machinery and equipment needed to process yam flour are as follows:
(a) Yam peeler
(d) Moulding machine
(e) International standard scale
(f) Automatic sealing machine
(g) Packaging machine
All the above machines and processing technology are source able locally. The machines can both be obtained locally and can be imported. The addresses of where to obtain both locally made machines and imported ones can be sourced through the writer.
The raw materials needed are wet yam tubers; these are obtainable from farms owned by small holders and co-operative farmers. There is abundant cultivation of yam in Nigeria. The country is the world’s largest producer of yam with over 6 million metric tons annually. Only five percent of this figure is put into industrial use by way of chips and flour. It is interesting to note that almost all states of the federation grow yam.
The best place to locate this project is the area where yam tubers are obtained in abundance. Yam is a heavy farm product and so transport expenses would be reduced if the project is located in an area where the tubers are grown in abundance. In fact, it can be sited in any locality in the country outside the cities where yam is not cultivated.
Market For Yam Flour
The market is both local and international. The later should be targeted where there is preponderance of Africans in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania countries. Based on our research, some marketing points (international) have been established and would be given to prospective investors. The factors that have positively affect the demand for this product include the prevalence of foreign exchange crunch, habit / culture, increase in population of the country, the fact that its consumption cuts across demographic classes, income levels and religious boundaries.
Briefly, the processes involved in yam flour production are:
(1) Procurement of good quality tubers, weighing and washing;
(2) Peeling the washed tubers;
(3) Grinding of the peeled tubers into pulp;
(4) Drying of the ground yam pulp;
(5) Milling of the dried pulp;
(6) Sieving to avoid having lumps when being prepared for eating; and
(7) Bagging and packaging (2kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg, and 50kg).
Details of the standard required in the international market will be given to prospective investors on request.
The project is very profitable. With aggressive marketing strategies, good management and export oriented production, the payback period is less than two years.
The return on investment is very encouraging at over 58 per cent.