The Story of Yemisi

Cassava Queen Yemisi Iranloye, Founder and CEO of Psaltry International Company Limited

Yemisi Iranloye established Psaltry International Limited in the rural area of Ado-Awaye, Oyo State, Nigeria, with the aim of promoting cassava cultivation for industrial purposes. The company produces food-grade starch and high-quality cassava flour with cassava sourced from local smallholder farmers. Psaltry International Limited emphasizes delivering high-quality products and has attracted clients such as Nestle, Unilever, and Nigerian Breweries. Despite infrastructural challenges such as lack of electricity and water scarcity, the company collaborates with over 5,000 farmers. Specializing in cassava production and processing, Psaltry International Limited manufactures over 10,000 tonnes of goods annually.

Psaltry International Company Limited factory

Yemisi earned her undergraduate degree in food biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology Minna in 1997 and later completed her postgraduate studies in biochemistry and nutrition at the University of Ibadan in 2000. She then ventured into entrepreneurship, developing food products for diabetic individuals using wheat and creating natural beverages.

In 2001, Yemisi began working at Ekha Agro-Processing Ltd in Lagos state, a company specializing in using cassava to produce glucose syrup. During her time at Ekha, Yemisi gained valuable experience working with cassava and recognizing its untapped potential. She spent a decade at the company before starting her own entrepreneurial journey.

Offloading massive amounts of fresh cassava at Psaltry International Company Limited

While at Ekha, Yemisi managed to acquire her own plot of land where she eventually built her own farm and factory. After a decade with Ekha Agro, she decided to move from Lagos to the farm in Ado-Awaye town in Oyo State in 2015. There, she built a modest farm and resided with a team of approximately six employees. Together, they cultivated the land and collaborated with local smallholder farmers, aiming to encourage them to diversify from solely growing cassava for fufu or garri, and instead focus on cultivating for industrial purposes. This marked the genesis of her multimillion-dollar company, Psaltry International Limited.

Psaltry International Limited specializes in producing food-grade starch and high-quality cassava flour. In addition to growing their own cassava, the company also purchases from local smallholder farmers. Psaltry International Limited produces food-grade starch, a versatile ingredient with nearly 300 applications in the food industry, commonly used by beverage companies and for seasoning, noodles, and pastries. Recently, they have opened the first cassava-based sorbitol factory in Nigeria, with the honorable presence of Oyo State Governor, Governor Seyi Makinde. 

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Men working in Lab at Psaltry International Company Limited

Yemisi recognized the importance of having access to raw materials and being close to them to achieve success in the production industry. She prioritized proximity to raw materials over proximity to the market, as finished goods were easier to transport compared to raw materials. As a result, she strategically chose to establish the company in the remote area of Ado-Awaye, in Oyo State.

Additionally, she acknowledged that quality would play a crucial role in attracting potential buyers. Nestlé, being the first international company, sampled the initial batch of the company’s products and became the very first customer within a fortnight of production. After experiencing the level of quality Psaltry International Limited produces, Nestlé certified the company’s products within two to three weeks. Nigerian Breweries followed suit, and from there, the business expanded.

Man looking through microscope at Psaltry International Company Limited

Yemisi did not underestimate the difficulties involved in starting an agro-processing company in a rural location. Despite the lack of electricity in the area, she managed to operate her factory using generators and chose Ado-Awaye for its ample land and friendly community. Although there was a scarcity of water, this problem was solved by constructing boreholes for both the local community and the factory. Despite the unfavorable road conditions, the factory managed to overcome transportation obstacles and effectively hire employees.

After a decade of operation, Psaltry International Limited has established a network of more than 5,000 farmers and serves renowned customers such as Unilever, Nestlé, Nigerian Breweries, and Promasidor, among others. Focusing on cassava production and processing in Nigeria, Psaltry International Limited specializes in creating various products including starch, flour, and sorbitol, a natural sweetener derived from cassava and considered healthier than cane syrup.

Cassava Queen Yemisi Iranloye, Founder and CEO of Psaltry International Company Limited

Meet the Cassava Queen, Yemisi Iranloye, CEO and Founder of Psaltry International Company Limited.

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