Nigeria is one of the most highly blessed nations in Africa. That she has not been able to solve, even her own problems of Food and Agriculture is a matter of very great concern.
In recent history, processing, packaging and storage of farm produce after harvest have been identified as the major challenges facing Nigerian farmers. As a way to bridge this gap, boost agricultural productivity and ensure food security in Nigeria, David Galadima established GRAEMOH FOODS.
David, owner and founder of Graemoh Foods, is not only a driven entrepreneur, but an innovator on a mission to reduce both hunger and the price of food in Nigeria.
His eyes are also set on simplifying the way consumers approach their packaged food decisions by providing healthy-yet-delicious offerings.
According to him, “We switched from open-air drying of our fish over firewood to the use of a stainless steel oven. This oven has a damper to filter the harmful dust and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that are released during the drying/smoking process especially when using charcoal. This reduces the risk of cancer from the consumption of our fish.”
Read the rest of the interview below:
Tell us about yourself and your brand – GRAEMOH FOODS
I am David Galadima, an engineer by training. My work experience cuts across engineering, banking and finance, business development and most recently agriculture.
Graemoh Foods is an agricultural organization that is focused on food processing and storage. We seek to leverage on technology in order to optimize food production, processing and storage. From research, we found out that a lot of food is produced in Nigeria. However, due to poor processing and storage techniques, when those foods are out of season, you can hardly have access to them. This is also one of the major causes of hunger in Nigeria. We found that we can extend the shelf life of most of these foods if they are processed properly.
What motivated you to start this initiative
My strong desire to see the reduction of hunger in Nigeria and indeed Africa. Nigeria is blessed with enough arable land to feed every Nigerian. But due to poor farming, processing and storage techniques, we have not been able to fully harness our agricultural potential and have had to rely on imported food items to the detriment of our local economy. If all the foods that are wasted due to poor processing and storage are properly processed and stored, the prices of food in Nigeria as well as hunger will reduce significantly.
When, where and how did you start Graemoh Foods?
Right from my childhood, I have always been involved in one form of agriculture or the other. However, Graemoh Foods officially started in May 2016 in Kaduna State.
What are the Major milestones/success recorded so far?
One of our biggest successes so far has been the recognition of our efforts by the Bank of Industry in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government and the United States Government, who through the Kaduna Startup Entrepreneurship Program (KADSTEP) and Young Africans Leaders Initiative (YALI) programmes respectively have provided support to our organization.
Another milestone we have recorded is the switch from open-air drying of the fish over firewood to the use of a stainless steel oven. This oven has a damper to filter the harmful dust and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that are released during the drying/smoking process especially when using charcoal. This reduces the risk of cancer from the consumption of our fish. We also now package our smoked fish in nylon bags that preserve the fish for more than 3 months.
This means that more fish is available to consumers all year round as opposed to only around harvest time.
We have also been able to expand our production from the drying of fish to the processing and packaging of grounded dried pepper.
What have been your major obstacles?
One major obstacle has been access to quality feeds and equipment at favorable prices. Most of the quality feeds are imported and with the current exchange rate, it is not very favorable.
Another major obstacle has been the mindset of some consumers. Some consumers feel that packaged fish is not as tasty and healthy as fish that is sold in the open market. On the contrary, our packaged fish is tastier, healthier (due to the low amounts of PAH) and has a longer shelf life.
How has social media helped your career?
Social Media has really helped my business especially in terms of publicity. With platforms and tools like Facebook and Twitter, I can reach out to a wider audience. Also, the cost of doing this is not as high as other conventional methods of publicity.
Word of inspiration to others who intend to start a change initiative?
Find your passion, pursue it and never ever give up!