Plantain flour business is highly profitable and can be done anywhere in Nigeria. The demand for it is increasing by the day because of its health benefits. Plantain contains fibre which is good for the body.
Plantain is available all year round in large quantities. The southern part of Nigeria is the major producers of plantain. For now, Nigeria is the largest producers of plantain in West Africa. Plantain flour is the peeling of plantain fruit, drying, milling/grinding it to powder.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO PLANTAIN FLOUR PRODUCTION
- There is high demand for plantain because of its health benefits. Plantain contains Vitamin A, B AND C. plantain is good for people suffering from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity etc.
- Plantain which is the major product for production is available for purchase anywhere, any day and anytime.
- The market for it is huge producers are struggling to meet up with the demands because the number of people producing is few. We can say it is a goldmine yet to be tapped by many.
- It is a good alternative to cassava flour, people will have a variety to choose from.
- It provides employment to many. Ease financial burden and is self-sustaining.
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PLANTAIN FLOUR
The one and only material for plantain flour is plantain, no additives, no preservatives. In as much as the plantain chips or flakes were well dried before processing then it should maintain its shelf life until it is ready for use.
EQUIPMENTS NEEDED FOR PLANTAIN FLOUR
- Drying machine,
- slicing/chipping machine,
- milling machine
- packaging machine
All this can be sourced locally or you purchase foreign ones. You can source them locally from National Research Institute For Technology (NARICT), Kaduna or Federal Institute Of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Lagos.
PRODUCTION PROCESS FOR LARGE SCALE PLANTAIN FLOUR PRODUCTION
- Sorting: this involves selecting of plantain that will be used from the non useful ones. In plantain flour production the plantain pulp must be well matured.
- Weighing: it is important to weigh the plantain chips in other to ascertain the weight of the chips that is to be used for production.
- Blanching: since the production of the plantain flour is for commercial purpose that means it is large as such there is need to put the plantain inside a very hot water to soften or weaken the bark before peeling for few minutes in other to make them easier for peeling, this is termed blanching.
- Peeling: sharp objects such as knife is used for the peeling (removing of the bark of plantain fruit) in other to avoid wastage. There are machines that can handle this for a large-scale production.
- Slicing/chipping: this is done by the use of a machine for easy and faster result. The pulp is sliced into pieces (chips).
- Drying: the pulp is dried in a drying machine (dryer) for some minutes (short time).
- Milling: a hammer mill is used in milling the sliced pulp. This is very important. It is one of the equipment you cannot do without.
- Sieving: it is important to sieve the milled plantain for uniform sizes.
- Packaging: the last thing to do after sieving is to packaged the sieved flour. Use a thick nylon to package it to avoid moisture entering it.
- Sealing machine: it is used in sealing the flour nylon.
HOW MUCH IS NEEDED FOR PLANTAIN FLOUR BUSINESS
The amount required for plantain flour business depends on your scale production plan. If you are starting small #100,000 can start you up. But if you are starting big on a larger scale then #15,000,000 will comfortable start the plantain flour business. For the larger scale you can cut cost down by employing more hands to peel the plantain skin.
SMALL SCALE PRODUCTION OF PLANTAIN FLOUR
MATERIALS FOR USE
- sealing machine,
- nylon for packaging,
- big nylon for spreading the pulp under sun,
- grinding machine (you can carry them to commercial grinders to grind for you and then you pay them for their services).
- Peel the plantain and boil for 2hours, this is because the processes they will undergo is not as rigorous as that of machine so in other to get a smoothly ground plantain with nice texture you need to boil it long.
- Dry the peeled plantain pulp under sun for some days until they are completely dried. This will achieve great success during dry season and also favourable to people living in the North because of their weather.
- Grind the dried pulp with the machine used in grinding cassava the type that can dry both the dried and wet grains.
- Use sieve to filter the ground flour to obtain uniformity of size.
- Package the plantain flour. You may not have to brand it now just package and start selling to neighbours, friends and family until you are able to obtain NAFDAC number.
The demand for plantain generally cannot be overemphasize. The rate of consumption is high thereby making it a ready market for producers.
Locate market men and women, food stores, restaurants, malls, super markets to sell to.
You can even export them, find out how it is done or locate foreign agents.
CHALLENGES OF PLANTAIN FLOOR BUSINESS
Every business has its own challenge, for plantain flour business capital (funding) is the number one challenge.
NAFDAC registration number, the problem of how soon can the close the registration and for the small-scale how long will the allow before clamping down on them. It can take about 3 months before you are fully registered with NAFDAC.
MORE PLANTAIN FLOUR COMPANIES NEEDED
At the course of my research, I discovered that in Nigeria the demand for plantain flour is estimated to be more than 200,000 tonnes per annum. While the current supply level is said to be less than 20%
I have been wondering why we don’t have plantain flour production companies in the south-south and south-east states where plantain plantations are majorly raised because of the weather and soil conditions that favours their growth.
The major place where this business is carried out is Lagos State. Take a look at some of the companies that are into it; Unique Food Ventures, Ayoola Foods Limited, Lesgup Nigeria, De Luxe Flour are all based in Lagos.
When your plantain flour business has been fully established and you start large scale production; there will be need for you to set up plantain farming Because it will ensure availability of raw material at all times. It will also increase the profit margin.
More awareness should be created for farmers to know the potential benefits of this business. Of all the crops that can be processed to flour such as rice, beans, cassava etc. Plantain seems to be high in demand.
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