Collaborative Infrastructure is the Way Out for Nigerian SMEs

Food and Agriculture Organization, Nigeria, EasyShop EasyCook, Saudat Salami

A total of 1.3 billion tons of food are usually either wasted or get lost annually. This is according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO). There are a high number of undernourished individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, the number is 220 million people.  However, the region has the highest number of the wasted food. Vegetable and fruits have the shortest lifestyle. The lifestyle is shortened further in the tropics due to too much heat.

Availability of vegetable and fruits comes with seasons in Nigeria. The moment a fruit is not available one will not have it until the next season. This is why much fresh food delivery SMEs and startups are in Nigeria. The fact that the country has a large population does not guarantee that SMEs and startups will be going for loans to put up their ventures.

For one to have an app or a website in an online grocery venture does not need a lot. It only requires that for one to realize that the success of their business lies in the agricultural industry. This is according to the CEO of EasyShop EasyCook, Saudat Salami.  EasyShop EasyCook is an e-commerce grocery store. The store has been operational for a period of 13 years. The agricultural industrial chain in Nigeria is not complete. Things like equipment, logistics storage, and financing are problems affecting the online groceries.

Most of the food wastage in sub-Saharan Africa takes place in production and retailing stage. This is due to lack of efficiency in various production stages. Post Harvest Losses (PHL) are losses realized on vegetables and fruits after harvesting. PHL takes place due to many reasons. Some of the reasons include transport, seeds, and shortage of farming equipment. However, storage is the biggest problem of them all. This is because storage is in a position to work independently. This is even if the rest of the production parts fail. Farmers can only generate high income if there is a reduction in food spoilage. Therefore storage side of agriculture products should be fixed.

A good volume of vegetable loos flavor when refrigerated. But many of them should be stored at cool temperatures. The best way to keep vegetables is therefore through cooling and freezing. This is the best way in tropics as the vegetable wait to get to the market. Having a room that is cold as a storage facility for vegetables is quite expensive for farmers. The rooms vary in sizes for instance 12 by 12 cold room goes for ₦500,000 to ₦700,000. On the other hand, a 20-ton cold room can be worth ₦40 million depending on the location. The prices have not included the daily cost of fuel. This is due to the low power supply in Nigeria. This is quite expensive compared to a refrigerating van which can go for ₦5 million to ₦20 million for a second hand.

The best way for upcoming business is the use of Collaborative infrastructure. This is a process through which minimum of two individuals works together to offer the required facilities for the running of the business. It relieves an individual from financial burdens of operating individually. This is the only way through which greengrocers and farmers can make the largest profit. This will force the Nigerian entrepreneurs to adopt the method given that they are poor at working together. The SMEs and startups should either decide on doing well in the market or closing up. To do well they must adopt the Collaborative infrastructure method.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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