• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
businessday logo


Malobi’s ‘acha’ journey in export shows the way to beginners

Malobi’s ‘acha’ journey in export shows the way to beginners

Most beginners in export from the South-South seem always confused about the steps and how to source buyers.

The Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC) thus brings those who are actually sending products abroad to hand-hold the beginners.

This was how Malobi Ogbeiche mounted the podium at an export forum for beginners at the PHCCIMA large auditorium last week to drill the potential and newly registered ones.

He made it clear that a beginner must first settle with a product, research on it very well, and get the regulations concerning it both in Nigeria and where the exporter targets to send it to. If necessary, send samples for the potential buyer to confirm.

He said he began with ‘acha’ or fonio which he said he learnt from a medical doctor called Sebi. His research has shown that ‘acha’ is found in the Middle Belt of Nigeria in commercial quantity. “Do not offer what is not in commercial quantity,” he advised.

He began to send to the UK in 50kg bags. He talked about how he found buyers, and everyone was all ears. He said he walked into a shop he had frequented to sell superfoods. He had a conversation with the shop owners and listened to their challenges because their ‘acha’ was no more on the shelf. He found their major worry was unstable supply from the source. He quickly saw an opening and offered to plug the gap: constant supply.

He thus advised beginners to start with one product, focus on where Nigeria has advantage such as shea butter, ginger, hibiscus, sesame, baobab, moringa, among others.

He strongly warned against starting with perishable products because of many logistics problems involved. He advised that exporters should focus on getting buyers, which he said could help them produce to expectations.

“Have a spec sheet ready (spreadsheet); know how much you can deliver; have your nutritional facts and lab analysis ready; make sure it (packaging) looks good; you are competing with international players. Any certificate must be ready, especially for animal products,” he said.

On buyer types, he gave tips on what sites to look for customers but said physical contacts are better. So, use your Diaspora relations to engage buyers physically.

He talked about lower risk entry to export; chance to learn the ropes; it is more difficult than it looks. A lot of business development process is needed and a supplier that can offer you enough margin for you to survive. He advised that exporters should be ready to sacrifice time and money. It is difficult to get the first buyer, but easy to lose him.

He also said that one should expect profit of between 15 and 30 percent in the export business. There are official prices but there are also lower prices between two persons.

He advised beginners to check out Mowana, export trade houses, websites such as go4worldbusiness, consider cost of logistics and look up ‘kadan kadan’ group.

Read also: Nigeria’s N11.72trn trade in 2022 spurs NEPC to drill for fresh exporters in South-South

For access to finance, he mentioned groups like Fluna, krowdfi or join a cooperative such as the Port Harcourt Exporters Multipurpose Cooperative Limited.

“With KK, customer can pay as low as N150 per kg to get their goods to UK as opposed to the N1000 per kg in air freight charges. It offers visibility, simplicity, and affordability.”

He advised what he called ‘groupage’ whereby many small exporters share space in a cargo container and put their products for export.

“Try different ideas and talk to people to see if it’s worth solving. Networking is essential. Patience is needed. Don’t wait for perfection,” he said.