Welcome to Nigeria, where at least 90% of homes use this pumpkin leaf in their daily preparation of food. In Nigeria, the pumpkin leaf is popularly called “vegetable” and in the eastern and southern part, it is also known as “ugu”. So what makes this leaf so special?
Apart from its availability, most home have understood the health benefit of it and try as much as possible to add it to every meal, ranging from stew to soup down to garnishing of meals. Some even go as far as extracting the juice from it to be used as nutritious supplements.
From the above, we can see that there is an already established demand for this “leaf” but there are some places where this leaf is difficult to get and others where it is in great supply.
So in this article, I am going to be talking on how we can make money from the sale of this leaf.
Keep in mind that we aren’t interested in the plantation of this leaf but only in distributing it to final customer.
Why Should We Sell Pumpkin Leaf?
There are many reasons to sell this leaf, reasons ranging from consumption down to health reasons. This makes it a good business to venture in, but with all business out there, a large portion of passion is needed.
Starting this business does not require you wearing a fancy cloth either does it require you speaking “the queen’s English”, but it needs the “hustling spirit” and the motive to “make money”.
In this article I will give reasons why you and everyone else should venture into this business.
Things to Do Before Starting This Business?
There are some things that are highly needed before starting this business which requires knowing your environments and customers.
Is there a sufficient demand for this agricultural produce? Are there suppliers? What is the market structure like? These are some of the questions one need to ask, before diving in with both hands in.
Now, know your customers, who are they? What is the appropriate amount of this leaf do people buy on a daily basis? This questions will help shape the business plan.
After all this are written and answered in your business journal, we will now get down to the next challenge, most entrepreneurs face.
Is this business capital intensive? Totally not, with as little as a $100 approximately ₦36,000 one can get started. I will recommend you start smalls so as not to have high expectations and to be able to manage your risks effectively.
Misconceptions in This Business.
There are two misconceptions in this business, one of the misconception is that this is a “female” business.
Most people believe that those who venture into this business are females and it is not suitable for male, but they are wrong, this business can be done by everybody and any one.
The second misconception is that this business is “dirty”, this totally depends on the nature and hygiene of the person running the business. if the person that is running the business is clean then surely his or her environment will be also clean.
Structure Of Pumpkin Leaf Business In Nigeria
I will explain how this business and the structure work:
Since we aren’t planting or cultivating the pumpkin leaf but only interested in being a middle man in the distribution, as such we will need to find where to source this “vegetable”. it totally depends on your environment for example those who leave in Port Harcourt can source from Oyibo, Igrita, Chioba etc, it totally depends on your area.
Building a structure is totally based on you, if you want to build a structure you can do so in a market or on an open area that is noticeable (where people pass a lot)
Building a structure shouldn’t be more than ₦5,000. You just need zinc and few pieces of wood and a ply wood. But this can varies depending on your location.
You need to create awareness to your business, many people who buys this leaf in bulk are probably people who cook in a restaurant or houses will lot of members, buys there in the market. But if you create the awareness that you supply to them at a lower price then you have won a potential customer.
You can do this by making sure your leaf look fresh and big, every Nigeria like it big and looking good. You can give discount such as buy 3 stalk and get one free.
Also learn how to cut this leaf as this can increase the number of customers you get.
Let us assume you have some remain from today’s sale, do you preserve it? This is one of the challenges this business face but it can be resolved in two ways.
This involves keeping the leaf stem soak in a bottle of water then place in fridge as the leaf cools it draws water from the bottle which keeps it looking fresh.
Keeping it Open
For those who do not have fridge, we can use the traditional method of leaving the leaf spread open on a tray, remember the leaf should be spread open so that no one lay on top another.
Do not spray water on it, else it will get spoilt, the leaf will be preserved with the help of the moist air touching the leaf.
REMEMEBR: do not perverse the leaf more than 2 days so apply the “first come, first out” principal and do not over stock.
In summary, though many homes buy this leaf on almost a daily basics there are some days that the business might move slowly such as money and Tuesdays, and other days where the amount of sales might sky rocket such as Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Do not be bother but keep a close watch on your expenses and revenue, do not over stock as there is a high rate of having loss due to spoilage.
I would love to hear from you please do comment below and if you find this article fascinating please do share with your friends.