One thing that worries many meat consumers in Nigeria is the condition of the meat they consume. This is because most abattoirs in the country are in a deplorable state, with the meat exposed to all sorts of contamination. Many educated Nigerians, studies have shown, avoid Nigerian produced meat and opt for imported, frozen poultry products. This is what my business venture is trying to change.
My background partly explains my foray into the meat business. Born and bred in the city of Iwo, Nigeria, a city well known for its skilled butchers. I had my primary, secondary, and Islamic education in the city. I thereafter proceeded to the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, where I earned a degree in plant biology.
In 2015, my partner and I, both scientists under 30, came up with the idea to set up a beef production and distribution business dedicated to changing the way beef is handled in Nigeria. Registered as Beef Plus Ventures, the business is dedicated to providing consumers with quality beef, produced and distributed under hygienic conditions. Beef Plus is run by my partner, Zaharat Kadri, a veterinary doctor and animal production expert, and me.
Nigeria consumes over 300 million kg of beef a year and our ambition is to build a company that will supply as much as 10% of this over the next decade. In addition, we are poised to help raise awareness and educate the public on the dangers of consuming poorly produced beef, while also training young people to engage in activities that will help reduce the gap between supply and demand of hygienically produced meat.
Our approach includes establishing modern abattoirs strategically, supplies for sales points, and independent distributors nationwide from these facilities.
Already, we have commenced work on our minimal viable product (MVP) by establishing a small abattoir in a rural area in Ogun state where we presently produce 500 kg of beef every week. Our butchery and sales areas are fully netted to eliminate flies and the hygiene of our facility is always topnotch.
Unlike many other meat-sellers in the country, we do not distribute our beef in uncovered or dirty containers. We also ensure that we sell our product fresh and maintain the cold chain to ensure freshness of product. At the moment, we serve the three small rural towns of Ibese, Balogun and Abuleoke in Yewa North Local Government, and have a monthly turnover of around USD 7,000 after just five months of operations.
The next step for our business is to open up new distribution networks in the neighbouring towns of Papalanto and Ilaro, thereby taking our product to more consumers. This is what we intend to use the USD 5,000 grant for:
- USD 2,000 will be used for a tricycle fitted with a cooling compartment for transport of beef to our new sales outlets
- USD 3,000 will be used to set up two new sales outlets in Ilaro and Papalanto.
This will make our product available to over 200,000 people, and allow us to gain a new market and grow our sales. Our ambition is to grow our sales to 6,000 kg of beef per month, within 12 months of getting this grant. And with this grant, we believe this is achievable.
With our gross profit of our business put at a minimum of 7% of turnover, we will be looking at a projected gross profit of USD 20,000 per annum after one year. This kind of profit is a testament to the sustainability of the business and its high growth potentials.
Besides this, the business is already having an impact on our community, with consumers better informed of the importance of hygiene in every process of food preparation. Also, we have created five new jobs and we contribute to the development of the community through the payment of levies and participation in environmental sensitization outreach.
To solve Nigeria’s unhygienic meat problem, the importance of initiatives like ours cannot be over-emphasized. If the traditional abattoir operators won’t take their business into the twenty-first century, now is the time to give consumers an affordable alternative.
Support Beef Plus to make available this important alternative to as many Nigerian as possible.
Sodiq Alabi is a 26-year-old farmer and agripreneur based in Ibese, Nigeria.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Sodiq Alabi (Nigeria): sodiqalabi[at]hotmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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