1. Introduction

Plantain flour is flour obtained from milling unripe plantain. Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world. It is rich in iron, Ascorbic acid(Vitamin C), carotene and other vitamins. Plantain flour is lower in calories than regular all-purpose flour.

Plantain Flour Helps in Lowering Cholesterol and Controlling Blood Sugar. Plantain flour is a natural source of resistant starch that helps to reduce blood glucose levels, so it is considered an excellent ingredient for food fortification.

  1. Industry Analysis

The demand for plantain flour is increasing daily, especially with the increasing reported cases of diabetes; therefore, the degree of need; health considerations, and rising standard of living contribute in no small measure to the rising demand for plantain flour. The demand for plantain flour is currently far higher than the current supply. The demand for plantain flour in the international market is very high especially in Asia, Europe and the U.S.A.

With a population of about 200 million people and an estimated national population growth rate of 2.56% per annum, an average economic growth rate of 2.5% per annum in the past ten {10} years, Nigeria has a large and growing market for plantain flour.

The growth of the middle class in Africa in general, and Nigeria to be specific, has led to a need for hygienically processed, easy to prepare and well packaged food products like plantain flour.

  1. Raw Materials Requirement

The basic raw material for the production of plantain flour is matured- unripe plantain. Plantain resembles banana but is longer in length, has a thicker skin, and contains more starch. They are a major staple food in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. They are usually cooked and not eaten raw unless they are very ripe. Plantains are more important in the humid lowlands of West and Central Africa. One hundred or more different varieties of plantain grow deep in the African rainforests.

Over 100 million tons of plantain is produced worldwide. Cameroon is leading the plantain production with 4.3 million tons, followed by Ghana (just under 4 million tons), Uganda (3.7 mio tons), Colombia (3.5 mio. tons) and Nigeria (3.1 mio tons). Philippines, Peru, Ivory Coast, Myanmar and Democratic Republic of Congo complete the top 10.

With an annual production of 2.4 million metric tons, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of plantain in West Africa. Plantain production in Nigeria is concentrated in the southern parts of the country, contributing significantly to rapid food security as the third important starch staple after maize and cassava.

Other raw materials that will be needed in a plantain flour production business are water and packaging materials.

  1. Machinery & Equipment Requirements

The major equipment needed in a small-scale plantain flour production plant are: Yam slicing machine, boiler, fermentation tanks, drying machine, hammer mill with cycle, Sifting machine, Weighing Scales, Sealing Machine, Knives, etc.

Plantain Slicing MachineFor cutting the plantain into smaller sizesN1,200,000
Blanching Tanks6 UnitsFor Holding chipped yam for fermentation N450,000
Drying Machine2 unitsFor drying The fermented yam chipsN1,400,000 per unit
Sifter 2 UnitsFor siftingN200,000 per unit
Hammer Mill With CycloneFor grinding/crushingN600,000
Automatic Packaging Machine(This machine is optional because manual packaging is possible)For packagingN3,000,000
Weighing ScaleFor weighing productsN100,000
Sealing MachineFor sealing final products in bags.N50,000
Sealing MachineFor sealing final products in sachetsN70,000

Notes: The above prices are applicable as at the time of writing this report.

  1. Production Process

Typically, when plantain comes into the factory, it is first washed, sorted, then it goes through the following steps:

A. Blanching

The plantains are soaked in water for 10 – 15 minutes to soften the skin so as to make peeling easier.

B. Peeling

The plantain skin are peeled manually using sharp knives

C. Slicing

Peeled plantains are then sliced into smaller sizes using the slicing machine. This allows for quicker drying time.

D. Drying

The sliced plantain is transferred to the drying machine and allowed to dry.

E. Milling

The dried plantain chips are transferred to the hammer mill which grinds it into flour.

F. Sieving

The flour is sieved using the sifter machine to remove particles, fibre, etc and produce fine powder.

G. Packaging

The final product is then packaged into desired packs of 10Kg, 5Kg, 2Kg, 1kg, etc.

  1. Profitability

The profitability of plantain flour production largely depends on the cost of the primary raw material, matured- unripe plantain. The price fluctuates with season, demand and supply. As the price of plantain changes, so also does the price of plantain flour.

  • As of the time of writing this report, the average cost of plantain is N270,000 per ton. Depending on the quality of plantain, an average of 450Kg of plantain flour is obtainable from processing 1 ton of matured-unripe plantain. This implies that it will cost N600 to produce 1Kg of plantain flour or N600,000 to produce 1 ton of plantain flour.
  • The average factory price for plantain flour is seven hundred  naira (N750) per kilogram.

This implies that a revenue of (N700 X 1000) = N700,000 is obtainable from producing 1 ton of plantain flour.

Gross Profit is calculated by subtracting the cost of production from the sales.

Gross Profit = N700,000 – N600,000 = N100,000

Assuming operating expenses (including cost of packaging) takes 20% of profits, profit realisable from producing 1 ton of plantain flour will be eighty thousand naira (N80,000).

The proposed setup will have the capacity of producing 4 tons of amala flour per day.This will translate to a profit of N80,000 X 4 = N320,000 per day.

If the factory works for 25 days per month and at 50% of the installed capacity, this will translate to a profit of N4,000,000 per month.

  1. Capital Requirements

The estimated total required capital for setting up a small scale plantain flour production plant is put at eighteen million and twenty thousand naira (N18,020,000). This includes the cost of factory rent, machinery procurement and installation, staff training, and working capital. 

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