Potato flour is the powdery substance derived from potato, a root tuber known as Solanum tuberosum from the family of Solanaceae. Potato is a sweet food substance consumed mostly as a staple food in most households, but they can be processed into other forms, including French fries, pancake, canned stews, as well as the fine powdery substance called potato flour.
First cultivated by the Inca Indians in Peru around 8000 BC, potato is now cultivated globally. Global production of potato is valued at US$24.83 billion, and has been projected to grow at a CAGR of 1.06% within 2020 and 2026. Potato production rate as of 2018 was about 368.72 million metric tonnes, a little dip from the 376.33 million metric tonnes of the previous year. That same year, the Netherlands exported about $1 billion worth of potato, thereby contributing a whopping 21.2% to global exportation of potato. They are trailed by France, Germany, China and Egypt, which, combined, produced and exported a total of $1.9 billion worth of potato. On the other hand, the United States, Germany and Spain are some of the biggest importers of potato.
Nigeria is one of the top seven producers of potato in Africa at large with about 843,000 metric tonnes of potato per year, which are cultivated on 270,000 hectares of land. In Nigeria, potato is mainly grown in Plateau state, Kaduna and Benue, and a larger percentage is consumed as staple foods in Nigeria households. Majority of local farmers still depend on crude tools such as hoes for domestic production.
Despite this, the demand for potato, especially in wet seasons when it yields significantly, is on the rise. This leaves an open window for the government and businesspersons to capitalize on. More so, there is an increasing demand for potato in other forms, especially the potato flour. This by-product is used for the production of baked meals, sauces as well as other useful ways. If you’re looking to start a lucrative potato flour production in Nigeria or any other part of Africa, here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you through.
What Is Potato Flour?
Also known as potato powder, potato flour is the fine powdery by-product derived from potato. It is ground from peeled and dry potatoes and can be used in a variety of ways including baking, sauce thickening, soups and other forms of cooking. Most people prefer potato flour in baking because it holds water and also because it is gluten-free.
What Is Potato Flour Production?
Potato flour production refers to the process of deriving flour from dehydrated potato. This includes peeling, dehydrating and mashing, among others. Potato flour processing requires time and efforts, but the process could be simplified with the use of devices such as a dehydrator.
Business Opportunities In Potato Flour Production Business In Nigeria And Around The World
Potato flour creates business opportunities in the following sectors:
1). Pastries And Food Production:
Thanks to its nutritional benefits, potato flour is now used predominantly in the baking industry, especially for snacks such as bread, buns, cheesecake and flatbread. It is also used as a thickening agent in soups, sauces, curries and other foods. Potato flour is the preferred baking flour in some restaurants, and the demand for it continues to rise as people realize its health benefits. More so, people now adopt potato flour as an alternative to the expensive wheat flour.
2). Distribution And Marketing:
Potato flour has also created opportunities for delivery boys and marketers who work with companies and factories that bake potato flour edibles. They help to bridge the gap between bakers and consumers and to drive massive sales for pastries and foods made using potato flour.
Facts And Benefits Of Potato Flour
- Potato flour contains as much as 13.5% protein and only 0.7% fat.
- It is very low in saturated fat and, therefore aids weight loss.
- It regulates blood sugar levels in the body.
- Potato flour improves the good bacteria in the body.
- It is entirely gluten-free.
- Potato flour is easy to cook.
- It retains water in foods and pastries.
- Potato is produced mainly in France, Germany, China and Egypt.
- In Nigeria, potato is grown in Plateau, Kaduna and Benue states, among others.
- 100 grams of potato flour contains about 18% of the recommended daily calories intake.
- Every 100 grams of potato flour contains 6.5 grams of water.
- Potato flour is also rich in Vitamins such as Vitamins B-9, B-3 and C.
- Its calcium components strengthen the bones.
- Potato flour reduces the risk of hypertension.
- It helps to build muscles and regulate heart activity.
- Potato flour also helps to regulate blood flow.
- It also aids the smooth functioning of vital body organs such as the kidneys, brain and the liver.
- More so, potato flour strengthens the body immune system.
- Potato flours can be combined with other flours in baking.
How To Start A Potato Flour Production Business In Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide
1). Peel And Wash The Potatoes:
The first step is to prepare your potatoes by peeling and washing them. You could also mash them at this stage to make it easier to dry. Some people choose to slice them instead.
2). Dry The Potatoes:
After washing and slicing, you need to dry out your potatoes. There are three ways to do this: spread them out in the sun to dry or use your oven or a dehydrator. Since you have lots of potatoes, it is advisable to use a dehydrator because sun-drying takes about 20 hours or more while oven-drying takes about 10 hours or more! Remember that potatoes are made up of 80% water. Investing in a dehydrator would save you a lot of time and efforts.
3). Blend The Crisp Sliced Potatoes:
Slicing your potatoes makes drying faster. After drying them out and they are crisp, it is time to blend them. Load them into a blender in considerable bits until they’ve been blended to a fine powder.
4). Package And Store:
After blending the potato to a fine texture, they’re ready to use. Package in airtight containers or small nylon packs, depending on your brand choice. After this stage, your potato flour is ready to be distributed and marketed.
Challenges Of Potato Flour Production Business In Nigeria
- Potato flour is not widely used in Nigeria
- Potato cannot be grown in every part of Nigeria, which makes it difficult for people in areas where potatoes cannot thrive to delve into potato flour production.
- Potato is a seasonal crop and is not available all year.
- Unavailability of mechanized tools for local potato farmers.
- Potato flour production takes time and efforts.
- Starting a potato flour business is capital-intensive because you need to invest in dehydrators.
- Poor road network makes transporting potatoes from local farms difficult.
- Low government support for the potato farming industry.
- Irregularity in market prices of potato.
- Limited knowledge about the benefits of potato flour.
- Lack of research into suitable species and methods of growing potatoes in Nigeria.
- Difficulty in reaching the international market for potato flour.
- Lack of capital for large-scale production of potato flour.
To Sum It Up
There are projections that potato flour will grow in demands within the next few years, especially given the fact that wheat flour and other common flour types are becoming more expensive. As people continue to realize the health benefits of potato flour, there will be an increase in its demands and uses. More so, the potato flour production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the potato flour production business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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