How To Start A Corn Starch Production Business

Before we go into today’s post; it’s important you know this is not a business for an average Nigeria. As it is a bit capital intensive. However, that does not mean it’s not possible. Enough talk, let’s get to business…

Corn starch, sometimes referred to as corn flour, is a carbohydrate extracted from the endosperm of corn. This white powdery substance is used for many culinary, household, and industrial purposes.

In the kitchen, corn starch is most often used as a thickening agent for sauces, gravies, glazes, soups, casseroles, pies, and other desserts. Because corn starch is made from corn and only contains carbohydrates (no protein), it is a gluten free product. For this reason, corn starch is an excellent gluten free alternative to flour thickeners in recipes. Be sure to check the packaging to make sure your corn starch has not been produced in a facility that also processes wheat products, to prevent the possibility of cross contamination.

The demand for corn starch is enormous in Nigeria. The user industries include: Food, textile, Pharmaceutical, and others like paper and paper packaging, chemical, and automobile product manufacturing industries. The national demand estimate for corn starch is in excess of 500,000 tonnes/annum. Presently, the level of domestic production is negligible. The supply is mainly through importation. This makes the prospect of commercial production of corn starch very high.

Raw Material Needed To Produce Corn Starch

Maize or corn is the only raw material for corn starch production. This is available in commercial quantities in different parts of the country. Maize is cultivated is all the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Total production output of corn in Nigeria is about 5,300 thousand metric tons against the total world production of 721,000,000 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2007). This makes Nigeria the 13th largest producer of corn in the world.

Machinery And Equipment Needed To Produce Corn Starch

The major machinery and equipment for production of corn starch are: Aspirator, Degermer, Hammer mill (wet), Hammer mill (dry), Vibro sieve, Granulator, Hydraulic press and packaging machine.

The estimated cost of machinery and equipment depends on the capacity of the equipment which could vary from 500Kg to 2.5tons per day.

Process Technology Needed To Start Corn Starch Production Business

Production of Corn starch includes the following simple unit operations:

  • Cleaning: The raw material is cleaned to remove foreign matters like stones, broken cobs and so on.
  • Steeping: Kernels are steeped in large tanks of warm water containing mild preservative.
  • Milling: Soften kernels are wet milled in a pool of water.
  • Settling and Decanting: The milled product is allowed to settle under gravity and thereafter, the water is decanted to obtain thick slurry of corn mass.
  • Sieving: The slurry is sieved to remove the husks.
  • Centrifuging: The starch in the slurry (less germ and husks) is separated from the protein.
  • Dewatering: The starch is dewatered to form starch cake.
  • Granulating: The cake is broken to smaller pieces to increase its surface area for effective drying.
  • Drying: The starch is dried using flash dryer.
  • Milling: The dried corn starch is milled into desirable particle size.
  • Packaging: The product is packaged appropriately in air-tight and moisture impermeable packaging material.

Capital Requirement Needed To Start Corn Starch Production Business

The estimated total initial investment is N21,772,485.00. This consists of the initial fixed capital N13,209,000.00 (including factory building, machinery and equipment, generator, project vehicle, office furniture and equipment and bore hole), initial working capital N7,391,320.00 and pre-production expenses N1,172,173.00.

Profitability Of Corn Starch Production Business

  • Return on Investment 62.3%
  • Return on Equity 155.7%
  • Payback Period 1.2 years
  • Peak-Even Point 46.5%
  • Profitability Index 2.6
  • Net Present Value @ 25% N13,826,340.00
  • Internal Rate of Return 45%

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