A Northern entrepreneur who saw immense opportunities in the sheer wastages of oranges and mangoes being produced in the Northern states of Nigeria has built a multimillion Naira processing facility where mangoes, oranges, guava, and pineapples are processed into juices and sold in other states.
The entrepreneur, Mohammed Njidda is the CEO of Longa-Ewa Lakes Limited – an agro-business company located in Ija village in Niger state close to Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The company sits on 20-hectare of farmland, on which it grows fruits for processing into juice, and a ranch where cows bought from abroad are bred to produce milk for the milk and yogurt plant.
Citrus fruit production of Nigeria increased from 1.5 million tonnes in 1970 to about 4.16 million tonnes in 2019, but experts estimate that nearly half of that number is lost due to lack of value addition resulting in post-harvest wastage of these important fruits.
Lack of infrastructure for storage and preservation, lack of improved varieties, poor R&D funding, and poor handling of the fruits during harvesting and transportation all contribute to massive wastage.
Most of Nigeria’s oranges are sold directly by street vendors, but they can be processed into canned juice, jam, or as part of other products.
Farm Feast – the company brand name of Longa-Ewa Lakes Limited currently produces under its name 50centilitre natural juice with flavors such as Mango, Pineapple, Orange, Guava, and Mixed fruits.
It also produces both 50 centiliters and 1-liter Sweetened and Unsweetened Yoghurt.
Currently, the company has 4 Depots located in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna. There are plans to open another depot in Uyo Akwa Ibom State to serve the South-East and South-South.
Interestingly, this farm also has a cattle ranch. Cows bought from abroad are bred to produce milk for the yogurt plant in-house. A large cold room was also installed as the primary milk storage facility.
In recent times, Nigeria has been facing security challenges that have been blamed on Fulani herdsmen. The herders – due to climate change are finding it increasingly difficult to find grazing fields for their cattle and many of them are turning to crime to survive.
Longa-Ewa Lakes Limited is not just a profitable investment, but an investment with the potential to mitigate most of Nigeria’s social unrest in terms of job creation and an alternative to nomadic cattle rearing.