Suya meat business in Nigeria which was mostly invented by the Hausas is making a huge profit by the day as patronage at the suya spots by residents is now the new normal causing many to call it the new fast food. ADEOLA TUKURU writes
Suya has been in existence as far back as any native food in the northern part of Nigeria .At first, the snack was not used to make money rather it was food that was consumed during celebrations and festivals in the north .
But as time went by when the demand for the snacks started to increase , so many northerners saw the opportunity and turned it into a business.
According to mallam Yusuf Auwal , a mai-suya ( Suya seller) at Yahooza suya spot said the business has been on the rise in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs.
He said though, people may see suya business as the cheapest means of getting money but it goes beyond that because it is only the strong willed that can engage in that type of business.
While explaining to Business Starter, Yusuf who hails from Gombe state said those who patronize him are most the elites who were seen parking their cars and trooping in and out of the suya spot.
Yusuf who has been in the business of selling suya for the past 15 years says it is a very profitable business adding It is his major source of livelihood and through the business he is able to fend for his 2 wives and 8 children.
Gains in business
According to him, he goes home daily with N7,000 to N10,000 daily from the business depending on sales.
He further confirmed that the business had been good because he makes more sales now .In his words “People buy a lot of Suya now compared to last year, when patronage was very low.
“More people buy a lot of Suya now because, as you can see, the economy is bad”.
He attributed the high sales this year to the hard times adding that things are not the way they are now because money is not flowing like before.
According to him, he wakes up as early as 5am everyday to catch up with his suppliers and also meet up with his customers in the park.
“Any day I don’t meet up early, I may not buy fresh meat because other buyers who arrive the market before me must have bought almost all the good ones, thereby leaving the remnants for late comers.
“Since my customers know I buy and sell fresh meat and I leave very early to satisfy them so that I can make more profits,” he said.
Challenges in business
Challenge of the business, Yusuf lamented the constant harassment by officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEBP), saying that in most cases, their wares have been seized during such raids.
He also appealed to the government to provide soft loans for small business owners.
“I need money to buy Cows for my business but I can’t afford it.” He also complained of the health hazard the fire from the Suya causes on his body.
In pidgin English, he said “The fire dey make my body weak and e dey pain my eyes everyday”.
Customers on suya delicacy
Customers who were seen trooping in and out to buy from, One Mr. Sunday Onyezi said he prefers to eat Suya mostly while he is traveling than other staple food in the markets.
According to him, this is because of its nutrients and it gives him instant energy while working adding that people can buy it for lunch and get maximum satisfaction.
Another traveler, Mr. Francis said “I eat it as my launch almost every day, it will save cost of buying lunch, and you know how hard the economy is.”
Appeal to the government
He called on the federal government to assist petty traders by providing cheaper shops for them because many display their goods on the roadside which is rather too risky.
He also appealed to men sitting idle at home to get something doing so as to assist their family.
Another resident, Jeff said there is the magical hour of dusk and early nightfall, when the heat of the day is gone and it’s not so late one worries about theft and other crimes occurring.
He said It’s always the most pleasant time of day for a stroll and many people are out and about then, which is perfect for selling spicy grilled meat.
How to start suya business in Nigeria
There are things you will need if you want to start a Suya business in Nigeria.
Some of them you might need when starting out while some you can bring later as the business is up and running.
A strategic location
The importance of a good location to your business cannot be over emphasized.
In the case of Suya business, you need an ideal location preferably a location that has a good population and probably close to peoples’ houses and shops.
Supply of the products
You need to know where you can get the products at a fair price.
It could be ram meat, goat meat, cow meat; you need to have a good supply of the products so you can prepare them in time to avoid disappointing potential customers.
Not many Suya joints have electricity but there are joints that are properly lighted.
You will need modern grill, you will need electricity but the most popular one in Nigeria is the charcoal.
You need to have tools that you can use for preparing the Suya, most importantly a machete for butchering the meats, a knife for serving customers ,pepper for garnishing , garbage, salt ,groundnut oil, all this you will need when starting out .