Fruit seller recounts gains in mango business

Nigeria’s high unemployment rate has spurred many young men and women to go extra miles to survive. Some even go as far engaging menial jobs, buying and selling among other things to eke out a living. Abdulawahab Onisale, a mango seller at Deidei market recounts how the mango business has put food on his table, ADEOLA TUKURU reports. 

Abdul as he is fondly called by his customers at DeiDei market in the Federal Capital Territory is one of many hardworking young men trying to fend for families despite the odds.

Apart from Mangoes, Abdul, who hails from Kogi state, also sells other fruits like banana, oranges, and watermelon.

Abdul who started selling fruits two years ago believed he should no longer rely on his parents to further his education since they are also struggling to make ends meet.

Fruit vending is a popular line of business in Nigeria as it plays a vital role in the society since fruits are good for the body.

When Business Starter visited Deidei fruit market in Abuja it came across different people of all ages standing beside their wheelbarrows usually full of carefully arranged fruits.

The sight of fresh mangoes is certainly irresistible for many fruit lovers.

Abdul has only a few hours to sleep per day in order to ensure he sells fresh mangoes to his customers.

Monthly earnings

The Kogi-born fruit seller says he manages to save up to N 11,000 monthly which he deposits in a bank.

By saving money he ensured that his siblings in the village don’t miss school by sending money to his parents in the village.

According to him, “I also wish to further my education but I will keep struggling till I achieve my goal.

“I will not beg for alms to feed. If that’s what it has to take to make it, I can’t do it and that is why I started this small business.”

Advice to his peers

When asked to give advice to his peers going through tough times, Abdul urged them to not only understand the value of dignity in labour but also create legal job opportunities for themselves as relying on non-existent white collar jobs will lead to further frustration.

On vocational skills

He called on the federal government to engage youths in the society on vocational skill acquisition which will make them independent for life.

How to preserve mango fruits

Mango fruit is that one fruit many people love to eat. During mango season you see guys and ladies carrying buckets and poly bags, some even go to the extent of climbing the tree.

The story is told of a lady who walks a long distance to get mangoes.

Even with the rate at which this fruit is being consumed, some of them still end up in the bin. Not because people want to be wasteful but because they can’t eat all.

No more mango, now we wait for the coming year. Though there are different ways of preserving fruits, but can mango be preserved? Can it be stored for long?

Yes and yes. Here are some methods of preserving the fruit to last till another season

METHOD 1: Drying

Get your mango (either by plucking or by buying)

Wash very well and then peel that back, Mix 8–9 tablespoons of lemon juice (to help retain the mango colour) in 1000 ml/4 cups/68 tablespoons of water, Slice the fruit in thin pieces into the mixture from 3 above and allow to soak, Preheat your oven to 55 degrees.

Set the soaked mango (evenly spaced) on the oven tray and put in the oven for 18 hours, as an alternative, spread the soaked mango out in the sun (Note: the sun must be extremely scorching) till its dry but supple, depending on your taste.

Place in a jar or plastic bag . Dust off with icing sugar (just enough to stall the tartness of the lemon juice). Seal off and place on the shelf.

Note: best consumed in the first 6 months.

METHOD 2: Soaking in brine

Brine is simply a solution of salt in water, some add preservative to extend its shelf life, but if you are all about team natural, use without preservation. This will last up to a year.

Get your mango (either by plucking or by buying). Wash very well peel the back (optional). Cut into tiny pieces. Pour in a glass jar or ceramic container and fill with water such that it covers the mango. Add approximately 3 tablespoons of salt. Cover tightly. Shake well and allow it to sit in the sun for 3 days. Drain the soaked mango and spread under the sun for another three days. Air dry (inside your house) for at least 10 days. Package in a container and place on a shelf.

Note: shake the jar often whilst still under the sun. 3g/o.5 tsp of Potassium metabisulphite can be added as a preservative.

METHOD 3: Processing

Get your fully ripe mango (either by plucking or by buying). Wash properly and peel. Cut up into pieces and blend to a smooth paste.

 Add 10 to 15 per cent sugar of the pulp. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a pinch of Potassium metabisulphite to the pulp.

Heat for three minutes at medium heat and pour into a tray already coated with vegetable oil. Set to dry under the sun till a leather consistency is observed. Cut into desired shapes and package in plastic bags.

Storage life: about 12 months (with preservative), less than 12 months without preservatives

Mango juice

Get your fully ripe mango (either by plucking or by buying). Wash properly and peel. Cut up into pieces and blend to a smooth paste.

 Into 1000 ml of pulp, add 1000 ml of boiling water, 2 tablespoons of lime and approximately 12 tablespoons of sugar. Package in a clean bottle and sterilize in not too hot (like 60–70 degree celsius) water. Allow to cool and store. Storage life: about 12 months.

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