Banana selling is a lucrative business in Nigeria today either through packaging or reselling them direct to consumers. Apart from the nutritional benefits and its availability in the market, it is very easy to set up the business depending on location and how one wants to operate it. ADEOLA TUKURU reports
For its smallness, sellers are often found at street corners while some put theirs in carts and push from street to street. Yet, there are some entrepreneurs that have moved the trade a bit higher, selling fruits in groceries.
One unique thing about fruit selling is that the business can be run from one’s home on full time or on part-time basis depending on choice and clients.
Location of business
Speaking with Business Starter, Grace Odiije, who hails from Delta state and does the business on full time it entails choosing to be stationary at a location for buyers to come to you, while the itinerant sellers move from place to place seeking for buyers. Operating at this level, sellers target the highbrow areas, where people appreciate fruits.
On like before, where fruits selling were solely left with the itinerant sellers, grocery stores are spring up in their numbers in different parts of the country, especially in highbrow areas of most big cities.
With advancement in technology, which has made mobility and commerce easier, fruits limited to certain locations and geography could now be sold in any locality.
Distribution of Banana
According to her, all that is required is for the small-scale traders or middle men to get to the sources of supply and buy, for onward distribution to the final consumers, which may be schools, restaurants, hotels, individuals and others.
Banana which is among the classes of fruit is a business that rakes in several millions of Naira to the farmer, sellers and organisations in the chain of distribution.
Though bananas are seasonal, they could always be preserved till another fruit season.
Grace said banana selling is a big business; you need to know where to source them and how to preserve them to make it in the business. It is business that could be started small based on your capital.
Advice on how to grow banana business
Advising anybody coming into the business, she said, “aside from getting a good selling location, you need a good refrigerator and has to know how to care for the fruits before putting them in the fridge. Some do not need refridgation, but just have to be put in place, where there are plenty of air.”
On how she gets her wares
Speaking on the market, she revealed: “ The market is wide, all I need to do is to go to the depot, where the farmers bring them from the rural areas. We get the fruits cheaper, clean them up and package for either the grocery stores or the open markets.
“I have been in this business for the past 15 years, I do not regret entering the business, because it has paid my bills and sustained my family. I make enough money and have to get ladies to sell for me at different locations” she noted.
Her classes of customers
Explaining the category of people that buy from her, Grace said: “I package my banana in nylon wraps for buyers to pick. Though, I sell variety of fruits, I must say our local banana gives me more money because I go to the markets where middlemen from the grassroots bring them to Abuja; so aside from getting them cheaper I get good ones,” she revealed.
Nigerians are getting used to taking fruits mostly on health grounds and this is boosting our purse.
“Some of us have even devised a means of selling the fruits in smaller packages for those that cannot buy a whole stalk. This small packaging rakes in more money, though difficult putting together,” she said.
Revealing how she gets the supply of banana from her local farmers in Abuja and, sometimes, from suppliers who bring them from Benue state. According to her banana are important part of a healthy diet.
She said they are naturally low in calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol. They keep the body healthy and could help lower the risk of many illnesses like stroke, heart attack, certain cancers, kidney stones and bone loss.
“These are some of the illnesses Nigerians may not want to be associated with and as such depend on fruits to prevent them.
Her gain in business
“So, the market is huge and I must say I have people that come regularly for supply and there is no dull moments, especially during fasting periods, where I make between N250, 000 to N300,000 within three months.
How she started
Recounting how she started, she said: “I started selling fruits 10 years ago with a cart, but today, I do not see any business better than it. As you can see that I have move from that level to a stall. I pay middlemen that go to the farmers directly; so I buy right from the source,” she said.
Operating a grocery store in Abuja , Grace noted that the location of her business determines the peculiarity of banana she sells.
“The business is lucrative and chances are if there are no damages, you have a quick turnover and regularly smile to the bank.
“ The market is huge, as you can see in the chain of distribution right from the people that bring the foil, nylon wrappers to the crates and cartons used for the package. It is a business Nigerians are yet to properly go into.
How to invest in banana business
With the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria agribusiness ideas can create a livelihood for you and banana farming is one of them.
You no longer need to moan about unemployment in the country or the lack of opportunities in the country.
You can start a highly profitable banana business in Nigeria and get a good return on your investment. However, you will need access to large land to enable you to take it to commercial standards.
People all over the country and outside the country consume bananas for one reason or the other; therefore there is a high demand for bananas in the country.
Unlike other agricultural practices whereby you need to continually plant crops; the banana farm business doesn’t need that. Once you have actually planted banana suckers on your farmland, you can keep harvesting bananas for the next 12 -15 years; provided you are always maintaining the banana plantation.