Nigeria’s cola/soft drink sub-sector could be serviced through the production of cassava fructose (fruit sugar) if well developed, a food processor, Yemisi Iranloye, has said.
In her keynote address at the ongoing Cassava Tech 2017 on Wednesday in Lagos, Iranloye said that Nigeria was not producing a litre of fructose used by the soft drinks and confectionery subsector.
Fructose is fruit sugar found in many plants where it is often bonded to glucose and commonly used as sweeteners in drinks and confectioneries.
She said: “We have to develop cassava processing so as to produce fructose, glucose and others for cola drinks, biscuits, sweets and others.
“Nigeria cannot boast of one per cent glucose production and not even a litre of fructose production.
“In spite of the fact that Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava, we do not rank in processing fructose.”
Iranloye, Chief Executive, Psaltry Ltd, said that the most processed cassava commodities included food grade starch and industrial starch, noting that 80 per cent of food grade starch was still imported.
She explained: “Nigeria’s starch production sector only takes-off about 20 per cent of the food grade starch produced locally, while about 80 per cent is imported from China, Thailand and others.
“We are limiting ourselves in the cassava processing sector. Cassava can adequately replace corn flour.
“Food processors go for corn flour because it is cheaper than cassava flour at N150,000 against N250,000 per ton, respectively.
“Cassava is a notch product, so we should develop it.”
Speaking on cassava chips export, the food processor said that export of cassava chips was not profitable because of raw materials.
Cassava Tech 2017, tagged: “The Latest Development in the Cassava Industry,” is organised by the University of Greenwich, UK and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State.