Mama Maria, as she is popularly known, engages in processing cassava into ‘Garri’ at Gwazunu, a community near Suleja in Niger State. In this interview with Daily Trust, she discusses why women should not be idle but start a business however little the capital.
How long have you been into cassava processing and with how much did you start?
I have been into this business for four years now. I started with as little capital as N1, 500, but as you can see now there is great change. I now buy cassava of up to N30,000 to N50,000 for processing.
So far, how challenging has the business been?
Honestly speaking it has been a challenging business; to start with the bad roads are not encouraging at all. It poses so many difficulties in the transportation of raw materials from the farms where we go to buy our consignment.
I am using this medium to appeal to the government to help construct good roads in order to make transportation easier for me and my other colleagues.
What about the profit you’ve made?
Talking about profit, for some time now there has been a drop in our profit because most of it is spent on transportation as a result of bad roads. Transporting raw materials tends to consume half of the profit as vehicle drivers demand high fares due to the bad condition of the roads.
Did you receive training before you started the business?
As for me, I did not enroll to be trained, but I learnt through my friends who were into the business before me. But now I give training to others that want to start the business. At least seven women have been trained and are doing well in their business.
Sometimes, I meet the women at the farms where I usually buy cassava. World Bank, FG Team Inspect FADAMA Projects In Anambra
Which market do you supply?
We supply many markets, our customers are all over the state knowing that garri is a thing of popular demand. We supply markets like Madalla, Suleja, Dikko and sometimes Zuba market.
What is your advice to women who would like to go into this business?
Yes! Sometimes I pity those women sitting idle waiting for white collar jobs. I am a graduate of marketing, notwithstanding I do cassava processing to earn a living for myself and my family. NBC To Empower 15,000 Youths, Stakes $900million On Improved Production
No woman should fold her hands and be praying for miracle to happen. Gone are the days where women depend solely on men to provide for the family. My advice to women is that they should start a business no matter how small the capital maybe. They should learn from my story.
Would you trade this business for another?
For now I don’t think so.