The first cassava-based sorbitol factory in Africa and second in the world, sited at Alayide village, Iseyin local government area of Oyo state was, on Thursday, inaugurated by Governor Seyi Makinde.
Named Psaltry, the factory is second to the one in Indonesia and has the capacity to produce 25tons of sorbitol per day.
Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sweetener, synthetically extracted from glucose, used in sugar-free foods, pharmaceutical products, and oral care products including mouth fresheners and toothpaste.
Among dignitaries that joined Makinde in inaugurating the factory included Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, represented by Zonal Director, South-West of the ministry, Mrs Abimbola Oguntuyi; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and wife; wife of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Bola; lawmaker representing Iwajowa/Kajola/Iseyin/Itesiwaju federal constituency, Honourable Shina Peller; Director General, DAWN Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye.
Inaugurating the factory, Makinde declared that his administration fully supported such strides that directly improved the economic activities and livelihood of citizens of the state.
Thus far, Makinde said his government had attracted to the state over N23 million in agribusiness investment aside from $25million in partners blended finance for rural roads in the state.
Yielded to Psaltry’s request for infrastructure to smoothen activities at the factory, Makinde sanctioned the construction of the main road to Alayide village and a bridge that connects suppliers across the river to the factory.
This is as he also approved of the revamp of the Eruwa Dam from which the factory can draw water.
Speaking further, Makinde hinted at the reconstruction of the Ido-Eruwa road.
A visibly elated wife of the former president, Mrs Bola Obasanjo stressed the need for youths to take to agriculture rather than looking for white-collar jobs.
While lauding the Psaltry initiative, Obasanjo enjoined the government to encourage mechanised farming to greatly boost agric production in the country.
In her remarks, the Founder of Psaltry International Company Limited, Oluyemisi Iranloye said the factory will reduce the nation’s reliance on imports and drive agricultural industrialisation in the county.
To bring about an agricultural revolution and reduce the nation’s dependence on imports, Iranola charged financial institutions to support entrepreneurs.
Drawing from her experience, she charged financial institutions to give longer moratorium to such projects to prevent failure.
She stressed that with requisite funding support, there is room in Nigeria for one hundred cassava processing companies.
Iranola praised support to construct the factory got from the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and Providus bank.
In her own remarks, Chairman, Board of Directors, Psaltry, Mrs Folusho Olaniyan posited that the epoch-making factory will provide employment for 10,000 persons and impact about 100,000 persons around.
Bemoaning that Nigeria is among the largest importer of sorbitol in the world, Olaniyan held that having a Psaltry in Oyo State will help reduce unemployment and the nation’s reliance on imported raw materials like sorbitol.
She described the nation’s reliance on imported raw materials for local production as a plague to the economy particularly with usual fluctuations in exchange rates.
Psaltry was birthed in 2005 to process cassava into food and industrial products but began production in 2013 with its first cassava starch factory until further expansions before becoming a cassava-based sorbitol factory.
Also on Thursday, Makinde inaugurated the newly renovated and equipped general hospital, Tede, Atisbo local government area of the state.
According to Executive Secretary, Oyo State Health Insurance Agency, Dr Sola Akande, the facility had suffered dilapidation for 15 years before its revamp.
Source: Opera News