Oluwafunmilayo John is the managing director of Lagos-based Blossom Day Global Enterprises, engaged in the packaging of raw food items at Adeleke Adegboyega Street, Bariga. The 28-year-old holder of Ordinary National Diploma (OND), whose drive and creativity know no bounds, spoke with ODINAKA ANUDU on how her firm feeds Nigerians as well as how she had created jobs for many unemployed people.
What we do
We buy Ofada rice directly from farmers after harvest. At this stage, there are often stones, sand and other foreign objects. After purchase, our firm does the processing by ensuring that all these foreign objects are removed. After this process, we do the packaging part.
We package Ofada rice in neat, branded 50 kilogram bags, and sell them to Nigerians at very cheap prices. You know, Ofada rice is not the type of rice you see everywhere. We make it available for Nigerians who are in search of it but have not found it. This service is not limited to rice; it also extends to garri.
You will agree with me that you will not like to eat grains of stones along with rice or garri. You will not also want to have health challenges owing to haphazard rice or garri processing. We treat our garri properly by making it smooth and fit for consumption. So, our firm does for Nigerians what no one else can do for them.
Apart from rice and garri, we also deal in oil. We get fresh oil and put it into jerry cans of different sizes: 4 litres and 2 litres and sell at give-away prices.
We also deal in what is called “Iru,’’ that is local beans. We also deal in yam, beverages, toiletries such as soap, body creams, school items, baby items such as pampers, among other things. In fact, we are general contractors and get items for people and deliver them wherever they want us to. We also give discounts for those who buy in large quantity and can accept part payment from our regular customers.
How this innovation came about
Well, we noticed that many Nigerians work in offices and businesses that take much of their daily hours. So, we decided to make it easy for these Nigerians by getting items for them and delivering them at their doorsteps. We also saw a situation where people complained while eating because the food was not well processed. So, we decided to fill the gap. Moreover, we found out that many Nigerians could not buy a bag or half a bag of rice, so we repackaged to make it cheap for them.
With the condition of things in the country, only youths that are creative and innovative survive. What we do is that we engage a lot of youths at various stages. But many of our staff members are still ad hoc, though we have permanent ones. Young boys and girls come into our firm and get busy. So, we have taken many off the streets.
At the moment, we are still looking for marketers who will help push the services to many parts of the country. We intend to support government’s job creation drive by engaging more auxiliary and permanent staff. But we still face credit access challenges. We are seeking funds to expand this business from microfinance banks. We are also hopeful that we can have access to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) credit schemes to help expand the business.
Advice to youths
Youths need to take bold steps in life. As a youth, the world awaits you to make the desired change. The situation at hand demands you help yourself before someone helps you. I may not have much but I believe in making something out of nothing. As a youth, be the change agent, and anything you get out of life, take it seriously.