What you are about to read now will make you angry and maybe, you will start pointing accusing fingers to our Nigerian government for failing to provide fruits processing facilities to control this mess.
Though our government have the largest responsibility to tackle this mess, you as an individual equally have a part to play. So all hands must be on deck so we can save our dear nation Nigeria from acute poverty and food hunger.
Is about food wastage in Nigeria with a focus on fresh fruits such as Mango, Orange, and vegetable like Tomatoes and pepper. This research/result is coming from Benue State (Food Basket of The Nation) because I based in Makurdi and was opportune to meet and interview a few key persons.
In Benue state, food wastage is seen to be normal, I remember how my father will be confident enough to allocate some of his oranges to wastage because nobody would come to buy them when they are ripe.
Yams, cassava, maize, and, pawpaw waste in thousands of tonnes yearly in Benue State and nobody really cares or given little attention to how this could be controlled. Maybe you might have a solution to this mess because you were born for a time like this to provide solutions to our problem.
I was told that we have some government projects that were instituted a few years ago to control fruits wastage, but I haven’t seen any. We have an abandoned tomato processing factory somewhere in Benue State and it is a government project.
I am not writing this to our government officials, they are aware of the current happenings but they choose to ignore it. Therefore, my research was done mainly for you as an entrepreneur or investor to take the necessary actions needed to control mango wastage in our country.
My focus today will be on mango wastage.
From my end, I conducted a proper research from sellers and few mango farmers today in Makurdi, Benue State and I was sad. According to some sellers, the inter-state lockdown has affected their business negatively.
Before COVID-19 pandemic, fruits wastage in Benue State is seen to be “NORMAL“, a lot of economic fruits such as Oranges, Pawpaw, Banana, Pineapples, and some vegetables like tomatoes, pepper, and watermelon wast in massive quantity yearly.
My Dad has an orange orchard of over 2000 mature stems and its annual production is massive but we do not usually sell the ripe fruits, they waste because nobody comes to buy. Orange cultivation in Benue State is of commercial quantity but zero monetary value to farmers.
Image: Me in the orange orchard
I interviewed some the farmers and they express bitterness over waste due to shutdown law by our government in order to fight/control coronavirus spreading. Though they normally have wastage, this year the result is worse.
As I type this in the year 2020, we don’t a single mango processing company in Benue State. I don’t know how much money setting up a mini-processing plant will cost, but I believe is doable, it is a project you can venture into.
If you venture into mango juice or chips production in Benue or Nigeria at large, raw materials will never be your problem because we have mango trees that produce fruits all year round. And if farmers would be sure of a market, they will be encouraged to produce more.
Though our government have a major role to play here, we cannot continue depending on them, we have to learn how to do business in our bad country than running away and insulting our political leaders.
Challenges you will face in the business of mango processing or distribution across the states are,
(1)Poor road network
Our roads are bad, which means transporting ripe fruits from Benue to other states will lead to more wastage. And access some mango producing communities will be difficult because they are in remote areas.
(2)Double/unnecessarily taxes of government and unauthorised bodies
Paying tax to our government is mandatory and we cannot ignore that fact, but most small businesses are double-taxed in our communities today both by government and some times host communities. So, venturing into mango processing, you’ll face tax issues.
(3)Poor storage facilities
Preservation of mango is hard and we do not have access to modern storage facilities. If you can make provision for a cooling van, transporting fresh mango fruits across 36 states of the federation will be easy and you will make money.
Therefore, prepare for a cooling van and the business of transporting mango will be successful
If you are a Nigerian born in Nigeria, you do not need much explanation here. Access to a steady power supply has always been a huge challenge in our country. So, you must make provision for a source of power supply.
(5)Availability of uniform mango variety
Mango cultivation is not seen as a business in Benue unlike orange, it will be difficult to source a single variety in large quantity from a single farmer or community. But if farmers are sure of a steady market, they will plant the required varieties for you.
It takes less than 3 years to plant, nurture, and start harvesting mango fruits.
All businesses have their challenges, you can do it. Conduct a market survey, meet and discuss with who you must talk to and start processing our mango fruits. Is not just in Benue State, mango wastage might be ongoing in some states of the Federation but unknown to me.
If mango is wasting in your community, speak out. Let entrepreneurs out there hear your voice, someone might have a solution.
No insult to our political leaders, because they don’t care about us.
Watch my interview with Mango sellers here: https://bit.ly/2SYXeNH
Watch here: https://bit.ly/35Uh9mh
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And I have this message for you, read and act now; “Think innovation, use the agricultural produce of your country to create new businesses” -Strive Mayisiwa.
Foreigners cannot and won’t develop Nigeria or Africa, we are the people to build our continent.