The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ayoola Foods Limited, Mr Segun Olaye, in this interview with DARE OKANLAWON, talks about the health benefits of eating plantain flour among other issues
Were you able to meet your target last year and what were the challenges you faced?
2018 was a very challenging year; we didn’t meet our target because the purchasing power of many Nigerians was very low. So, that has affected every business in Nigeria but we were able to increase our turnover to about 17 per cent.
So, what’s your projection for 2019?
We expect to do better than in 2018. In other words, we expect to at least increase our turnover by 20 per cent.
What is your company’s market share in the agro-allied space?
Market share depends on the products; we can only compare our market share with that of our competitors. So, if you are comparing us with other competitors producing similar products, I think we have about 70 per cent.
Basically, some people prefer the pounded yam compared to the Poundo Yam Flour. How do you convince those people to give Poundo Yam flour a try?
If you try our poundo yam, you will see that it is easy to prepare. It takes just five minutes to get it done compared to the time needed to prepare the pounded yam from the yam itself, which takes time and energy. However, the poundo yam is a very easy way of getting the same thing and the taste but faster, easier and more convenient.
The prices of some of your products are believed to be beyond the reach of many consumers who would like to eat them. Do you agree with this and is there anything you are doing to address this?
I don’t agree with it. If you say because of the purchasing power, which is now very low, I can agree with that, but to say that our prices are high; I don’t agree with that. If you buy a pack of poundo yam in the supermarket currently at the rate of #700 – #750 depending on where you buy it from and it can feed five people conveniently. So, #700 divided by five cannot be said to be too expensive and out of reach for the consumers.
Sixty per cent of agricultural produce in Nigeria get rotten and/or destroyed due to post-harvest challenges that we have. What can be done to address this?
Unfortunately, we have a very poor transportation system in Nigeria and farmers find it very difficult to transport farm produce to the urban cities where they will be consumed. Therefore, they get rotten. While we are looking for those farm produce here (in the cities), the farmers have them in excess but to get them here becomes an issue. The only solution that can be proffered is when the government knows that it has to solve the problem of transportation. The road must be good and most importantly the railway system must be used everywhere to transport goods from the farm to the urban cities where they need them.
Having been in operation for over two decades, what would you say is your staying power?
You just have to believe that you can do it because there are challenges every year but you just have to find a way around it.
Some processing companies have started investing in their own plantation in other to feed their factories. How do you source for raw materials? Are you planning to have a plantation too?
We do not plan to invest in our own plantation because the stress involved in doing that is too much and there are problems surrounding it. So, I prefer to let some other people do it while we concentrate on the production/processing aspect of it. So, we had agreements with some people; we have been doing business with them for so long. So, they go into farming; that is their own business and they can monitor it very well, while we are into production.
What is the unique selling point of the plantain flour that your company is promoting?
We are trying to promote the plantain flour because it has a lot of health benefits. The plantain flour is recommended because we use unripe plantains and it (plantain) has so many nutrients and vitamins that are good for the body. It helps digestion and it contains Vitamin C which boosts the immune system. It helps vision because it contains Vitamin A. It also helps in the proper functioning of the male reproductive organ. It has so many advantages. That is why it is best for you to use Ayoola Plantain flour because you are sure that what you are eating is made from unripe plantains. If you buy from any other source, you are not sure if it is made from unripe plantains, and once it’s not unripe, you cannot get all the benefits you should get.
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