Who we are
My name is Onyendi Chituru Ngozi. I am a 26-year-old female from Nigeria and have always had the passion to make a significant change in agriculture. I am the coordinator of a group of four members adding value to catfish production. We are university graduates and have come together as a result of our passion for agriculture and desire to empower ourselves and encourage rural youth involvement in agribusiness.
Why dried fish?
A few months ago we realised that most individuals get discouraged from purchasing fresh catfish because, if not prepared immediately, it gets spoiled due to lack of proper storage. As a result there is always waste of fresh catfish from the fish farm.
Furthermore, the locally dried fish sold in the open market is poorly processed and not properly dried. As such it cannot be stored for long. We have also discovered that poor families cannot afford to buy meat due to its high cost, so there is a high level of malnutrition.
Our group decided to engage in full-scale production and distribution of high quality dried catfish so as to generate income to gainfully employ at least 5 people and enter the market in major parts of Nigeria, with plans to expand to other countries.
Our goals are to upgrade the value addition process for catfish production in rural areas where there is a high level of contamination resulting from traditional methods of drying (by smoking). We also want to educate the rural youth on the profitability of agriculture and provide market linkages from farms to processed foods to market for quick returns and productivity.
Our success story has been the high level of awareness and acceptability of our product fish by both the local women and high class grocery stores. This success is due to our product’s reasonably low cost and high standard of quality.
The group is gradually achieving its goals, but on average our supply quotas have not been met. This problem could be traced to insufficient man power, fish supply or the financial capacity to reach out to a larger populace through advertisement. That is why we need to expand!
Currently, we are limited to processing about 20 kg of catfish per week due to unavailability of a standard processing centre. To meet our goals, we must process at least one ton of fresh catfish per month. This would be possible through the use of a smoking kiln for standard processing, not using wood as with the poorly processed dried fish mentioned above.
Next we will reach out to local markets, urban supermarkets and other distributors within and outside Nigeria. The product will be packaged in such a way that it is attractive and affordable for all levels of income.
We will promote and create awareness of the high quality dried catfish we are selling through information and communication technologies and one-on-one meetings. We will also negotiate with local market women, hotels, restaurants and supermarket owners for the distribution and sale of the packaged, high-quality dried fish.
We will engage rural youth and women to be productive in the agricultural value chain through becoming distributors, giving them a 10% discount for every sale of the packaged dried catfish. This scheme will help them to be financially independent.
We will establish market linkages for fresh fish farmers to reduce waste and increase production and consumption of nutrient-dense fish.
The quantity of fresh catfish processed will be steadily increased from 80 kg to 100 kg, 120 kg and 160 kg weekly for the first, second, third and fourth quarters, respectively.
We will thus invest a total amount of $3,100, which is 64% of the funds, on production in the first quarter. This would be re-invested for the subsequent quarters.
About 10.3% of the fund will account for the part of the capital costs that will include purchase of the smoking kiln and sealing machine.
24% will account for the salary of two personnel, to be doubled by the fourth quarter.
3.7% of the fund will be invested in the promotional items.
In conclusion, by implementing this strategy we envision youth and women’s empowerment, wealth creation, food conservation and rural development.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Ngozi Onyendi (Nigeria) – onyendichituru[at]yahoo.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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