The trend of trading in banana has positively impacted on residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs. Madam Bosede Ayeidogbon, who sells banana and groundnut in Maitama, recounts the profit in the business. ADEOLA TUKURU reports.
Madam Bosede, 45, a resident of Mpape who hails from Kogi state and married with 5 children, says selling banana has been her major source of livelihood in the past 3 years and she can attest to the fact that the business has paid her off.
In the nation’s capital ,banana is one of the cheapest commodities one can find . They are either sold by the road side, shops and highbrow supermarkets.
Checks by Blueprint‘s Business Starter in the capital city revealed that due to high patronage of its hawker, the fruit can either be used as smoothie drinks or served as lunch for workers, it has become a new found fast food for residents.
She estimated that she makes N4,000 or more daily from the business and she said the business had been good because she makes more sales as civil servants and private workers have resumed work after the Christmas and New year breaks compared to late last year when there was no money activities.
“People buy a lot of bananas now compared to last year, when patronage was very low. More people buy a lot of bananas now because, as you can see, the economy is bad.”
She 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.
Though, people may see the business as the cheapest means of getting money, but she says it goes beyond that because it is only the strong willed that can engage in that type of business.
According to her, she wakes up as early as 5a.m everyday to catch up with her suppliers and also meet up with her customers in her stand.
“Any day I don’t meet up early, I may not buy fresh bananas because other buyers who arrived 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 bananas, I leave very early to satisfy them so that I can make more profits, ” she said.
How she started the business
Madam Abosede explained that when she came to Abuja in 2014 to source for a means of livelihood ,she realised that it wasn’t easy getting a job, then she started selling bananas to assist her husband who is a printer.
“As you know, the printing job doesn’t come by regularly, so I started selling bananas to assist him cater for our 5 children. Though, it has not been easy but God has been good.”
On the challenges of the business
She lamented the constant harassment by officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEBP), saying that in most cases, many basins of banana have been seized during such raids.
“The AEPB has been disturbing us in our business. We are women trying to survive in Abuja to assist our children go to school and their upkeep.
“We don’t want to engage in all manner of activities that are not good, that is why we are selling our goods to make ends meet and we can’t afford the shops the federal government is proposing we rent.
She sighted how harsh the AEPB agents can be while raiding them. ” The goods of one of us who is a widow was seized last week ,she begged them to release her goods for her, she even paid them N2,000 but they refused to release her goods.”
She also complained of the health hazard of rain and sun hitting her body. In pidgin English, She said “The weather dey make my body weak . I dey take one can of peak milk everyday when I reach house.”
When Business Starter sampled opinion of customers who were seen trooping in and out to buy Madam Bosede’s banana, one Mr Friday Ochai said he prefers to eat banana 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 banana is one of the cheapest snacks that people can buy for lunch and get maximum satisfaction.
Another customer, Mr Francis Irabor said banana is a healthy food to eat.” I love and eat it as my lunch almost everyday, it will save cost of buying lunch, you know how hard the economy is.”
An appeal to the government
As her 2019 wishes for the federal government, she advised government to assist petty traders by providing cheaper shops for them because many display their goods by the roadsides which is rather too risky.
“If they want us to vote for them in the Forth coming general
elections ,they should be able to meet our needs and provide us with an affordable shops to use.”
“At times, some careless drivers can ram into our wares as we sit by the road side and you know we close late at times depending on how sales move,” she said.
She also appealed to women sitting idle at home to get something doing so as to assist the family. “My husband is very proud of me because I assist in paying the children school fees and also feed the family. He is a printer and earns less, so with this my business I have been able to assist him and we are comfortable.”