By DANIEL ZUBAIR

It is estimated that about 70 million people in West and Central Africa derive more than 25% of their carbohydrates from plantains, making the staple food one of the most important sources of food energy throughout the African lowland humid forest zone.

Nigeria is one of the largest banana and Plantain growing countries in Africa. Nigeria produces 2.74 million tonnes of banana annually, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). It is also the largest plantain producing country in West Africa., making the crop one of the important staples in the country.The main Banana and Plantain growing regions in Nigeria are found in the South and Central regions of Nigeria, the largest quantities are produced in Edo, Ondo, Delta, and Ogun States. Other producing states are Rivers, Cross River, Oyo, AkwaIbom, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Plateau, Osun, Bayelsa, Kogi, Abia, Anambra and Enugu. Plantain cultivation is not limited to big plantation but is often grown in small orchards which sometimes go unnoticed.

Despite its prominence, Nigeria does not feature among plantain exporting nations because it produces more for local consumption than for export. National per capita consumption figures show its importance relative to other starch staples. However, these figures do not show regional reliance, which is often very important for highly perishable crops that are usually consumed in or near areas of production.

The consumption of plantain has risen tremendously in Nigeria in recent years because of the rapidly increasing urbanization and the great demand for easy and convenient foods by the non-farming urban populations. Besides being the staple for many people in more humid regions, plantain is a delicacy and favored snack for people even in other ecologies. A growing industry, mainly plantain chips, is believed to be responsible for the high demand being experienced now in the country.

The main consumers of plantain chips and wafers are individuals and families especially in urban and semi-urban areas. Besides, hotels, restaurants, canteens, army establishments require plantain chips in significant quantities.

The demand of the present market is met by the mix of Branded and Unbranded Chips available in the Market. There are 60% of the population which is Brand Loyal and this available market share has obviously created a market space for any serious minded entrepreneur whose aim to create a notable brand amongst the rest in the product category.

Both Bini (agbagba) and French (pambola) cultivars are good varieties of plantain for plantain chips production. The Bini cultivar is however, preferable based on product quality and yield. Matured plantain fruit at the firm ripe stage is suitable and it is obtained one or two days prior to ripening depending on the sugar level. A bunch of Bini plantain of about 18-21 fingers weigh between 6-10kg.

There is a great potential for the processing of plantain chips in Nigeria. The market for plantain chips is national. With a population of over 165 million people and an estimated national population growth rate of 5.7% per annum ,an average economic growth rate of 3.5% per annum in the past five {5} years, Nigeria has a large market for plantain chips.

Children, teenagers, young and old people alike are the target market of the Plantain Chips. Home, rather than school, is the most popular destination for eating crisps and savory snacks, with seven in ten children (70%) consuming them at home, against around half (48%) who eat such snacks at school. After school, when children tend to choose their own snacks, 70% select crisps and savoury snacks compared to lunchboxes, which mothers generally pack, where the most popular item is a savoury sandwich or roll.

Some 44% of consumers prefer to buy children’s snacks in multipacks while nearly half of all consumers say they are price motivated in their snack purchasing. The demand of the present market is met by the mix of Branded and Unbranded Chips available in the Market. There are 60% of the population which is Brand Loyal leaving out the 40% for the unbranded.

The national demand for plantain chips is estimated at 5,250 Tonnes/Annum while the annual national supply is estimated at 4,575 Tonnes with a demand – supply gap of about 675 Tonnes/Annum

 

Plantain Chips is a snack made from plantain and they are crispy crunchy snacks made with either ripe or unripe plantainssavoured with the likes of salt, pepper, ginger and even garlic in some cases. Plantain Chips made with unripe plantains are bright yellow while those made with ripe plantains are deep or brownish yellow in colour. Plantain chips production is one of the easiest businesses you can start in Nigeria if you want to generate quick cash due to its wide market acceptance.
Setting up a plantain chips business from the perspective of a small scale entrepreneur does take huge capital to embark on as the business could be started right within your residential premises. The major factors to put into consideration when driving at success in this business are: Taste, Packaging and Distribution.This shows that, you need to master the art of its preparation either directly or through a trained hand.

The followings are the needed recipes:

Plaintain (ripe and unripe)

Vegetable Oil

Salt

Grinded Ginger (Optional)

Grinded Garlic (Optional)

Grinded Pepper (Optional)

How to prepare a crispy-crunchy plantain chips
-Get the needed number of plantain bunches on ground

-Wash and peel the plantain.

-Slice the Plantain into a bowl of water.

.-Add Salt to taste and Stir

-Transfer the sliced plantain to a sieve to drain the water.

-Add the grinded pepper, ginger and garlic if necessary

-Switch on your Gas cooker or Stove

-Put your vegetable oil into a frying pan and allow it to be hot

-Then start frying by putting the sliced plantain into the hot oil

-Remove them when it gets to your desired outlook texture

PACKAGING

This is the stage where you neatly and hygienically put the chips into the designed nylon using a machine or manually using a measure to ensure a proportionate weight before sealing with a sealing machine.

 

DISTRIBUTION

This is where the product gets off from your domain to the market place where its value gets exchanged for money. You need to map out the necessary locations and selling partners that could help place the product in the hands of the consumers. To do this effectively, it will be advisable to have at least a moving vehicle- a car or a bus will be good for easy delivery.

COST ANALYSIS

NAMESQUANTITYMARKET PRICE (=N=)
BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION 35,000.00
VEHICLEUSED600,000.00
PLANTAINA FULL BUNCH3,500.00
VEGETABLE OIL5-LITRES3,500.00
SALTSMALL SIZE        200.00
PEPPER(POWDER)SMALL SIZE        500.00
GINGER(POWDER)SMALL SIZE        400.00
GARLIC(POWDER)SMALL SIZE        400.00
SEALING MACHINE 10,000.00
COOKING GAS12.5KG3,800.00
SLICER 1,000.00
NYLON                   A BUNDLE                        7,500.00
PRINTING        10,000,00 PIECES                      20,000.00
TOTAL 685,800.00

 

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