Yemisi Iranloye, Nigeria’s Queen of Cassava with an Annual Revenue of N5 Billion

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Yemisi Iranloye, Nigeria's Queen of Cassava with an Annual Revenue of N5 Billion

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Yemisi Iranloye, Nigeria’s Queen of Cassava with an Annual Revenue of N5 Billion

Yemisi Iranloye, Nigeria’s Queen of Cassava with an Annual Revenue of N5 Billion

While many Nigerians continue to see agriculture as a venture meant for the poor, Yemisi Iranloye, the woman with the eagle’s eye and thought-provoking entrepreneurial spirit, sees it as a lucrative venture. While many people see problems and difficulties in farming, Yemisi sees opportunities. This explains why she has successfully carved a niche for herself and has cemented her place as the Queen of Cassava.

Yemisi is the managing director and CEO of Psaltry International Limited, a large cassava processor based in south-west Nigeria, and has built her success on an inclusive business model that places smallholder farmers at the centre of operations.

In 2005, Yemisi Iranloye founded Psaltry International Limited, with personal savings from marketing farm produce. Six years later, in response to market demand for processed cassava products, she expanded the business with the establishment of a factory in Alayide village, Oyo State

Records have it that demand for these high-quality cassava products among Nigeria’s manufacturing industries continues to grow due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and scarcity of imported grains such as wheat and barley, which make locally-sourced and readily-grown raw materials like cassava more cost-effective.

With a production of 10,000 tons of cassava per year, Iranloye makes an amazing annual turnover of $12 million (N5,136,120,000.00).

Psaltry International specializes in the production and processing of cassava in Nigeria. Among its derived products are food-grade starch, high-quality cassava flour, and sorbitol, a natural sweetener gotten from cassava. The company grows the cassava tubers themselves and also buys from local farmers.

Psaltry International produces up to 35, 000 tons of starch, cassava flour, sorbitol, and glucose each year and operates a network of over 6, 000 local farmers. Today, Psaltry is a large-scale indigenous company with over 300 staff members, 8, 000 hectares of land, and about $20 million in assets

Psaltry International boosts the efficiency of smallholder suppliers and also focuses on strengthening the capacity of its employees. They have been consistent with this since the start of operations. For instance, the company hosts an annual staff training seminar in partnership with the Nigerian Breweries Training School at Ibadan under the Dutch-funded 2Scale Programme.

In a recent interview, when asked on what has been her biggest challenges so far, she said “Currently, our biggest challenges are raw materials and funding. The banks do not understand the way the funding cycle of this business works. For example, every year, you must plan for the next year because it’s a 12-month crop. You need a budget to support the crops you’ll cultivate this year, which you will only harvest next year. When buying the inputs you need for farming, you have to pay within 24 hours but when you sell the finished product, you don’t get paid for 60 days. There is a constant outflow of cash with a very slow return rate. These are things you need to explain to the financial institutions. This industry needs heavy working capital.”

When asked to describe the company’s manufacturing process, the Cassava Queen said “It is a fully integrated system with full traceability from the farm to the weighbridge. When the produce arrives at the weighbridge, we test the cassava for starch content. It then goes for peeling, washing, milling, extraction, dewatering, and drying if it is for starch. The cassava goes from peeling to washing, milling, dehydrating, flash drying, and into the disc feeder if it is for flour.”

It is imperative to note that although Yemisi’s family had financial challenges while she was growing up, she endeavored to earn her BSc in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Minna in 1997. Subsequently, she completed her MSc in Biochemistry and Nutrition at the University of Ibadan in 2000.

Commenting on her business in the Nigerian economy and environment, Iranloye said: “May Nigeria succeed and survive its detractors. We are marching forward positively, progressively and successfully in agriculture.”

Source: Nigeriancanadiannews

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