FEATURE: SHEDA community where women process fufu
Women of Sheda Community in Kwali Area Council, Abuja, has taken up processing cassava into fufu as their occupation and means of creating employment for many in their community.
In this present era, women have been recognised as successful entrepreneurs through their strong desire, qualities and capabilities for robust economic development.
The cassava processing business in Sheda was established by a woman named Mrs Happiness Adamyilo.
Mrs Blessing Gami, daughter of Adamyilo said that her mother started the business petty at Sheda and made profits.
According to her, Adamyilo decided to expand the business and with the help of the Chairman of the area council, she succeeded.
“This stall was built by my mother with the help of the Chairman of Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya in 2019, all we do is contribute and remit a monthly revenue of N10,000 to the area council.
“Also with the help of the chairman, the issue of water was solved as he dug a borehole for us,” she said.
Gami said the fufu business had empowered a lot of women and several labourers were also employed.
The process of making fufu involves many steps, it starts from peeling of cassava, grinding, it is then sieved after the processes of fermentation and then fried.
Some women are employed to perform these tasks and they are paid for their services.
According to Gami, they employ labourers whose jobs were to peel the cassava, wash it before soaking, fetch water, and also sieve the cassava when it is fermented.
She said that the cassava they used were brought in from other states as most of the women do not have farmland, while those who had were being attacked by gunmen.
“The cassava we use are purchased from Kogi, Kilankwa village in Sheda and Nasarawa state.
“Some of us buy in bags, some buy the Golf car size and others buy full pickup truck load, and a pickup truck load of cassava when processed can give 18 plastic drums.
Speaking on the fermentation process, Gami said that they soaked the cassava in a 160 litre plastic drums and the fermentation period was four days.
“We add potash (Akanwu) into the plastic drum before and after soaking the cassava with water and leave it to ferment,” she said.
Gami stated that the business was still growing as it had only been two years since the business started, adding that the profit they were making was not encouraging.
“The high cost of cassava and cost of transporting the cassava makes it difficult for us to make profit.
“Most times, we make profit while sometimes we get only our capital but that will not make us stop the business because the business is a viable one.
“Presently, we sell a bag of processed cassava for ₦4,600 and the chaff sells for ₦4,000,” she said.
According to her, the chaff we sale is used for making their local meal called Alibo.
“We have people who come to buy the chaff. The chaff after processing is used in making a local delicacy of the gbayis known as Alibo,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs Grace Daniels, who works at the cassava stall, said that the profit she made was not much because of the high cost of cassava.
She stated that the little she got was used to support her family and she expressed hope that as times went on she would make more profit.
Another woman, Mrs Edith Dogara, who sells cassava chaff, said that she no longer made profit as the cost of cassava had affected the business, adding that, she sustained her family through selling the chaff.
“I am not making profit like before because of the high cost of cassava, it is through the chaff that I sell that I can feed my family, I am just suffering,” she said.
Mrs Ramatu Tanko, a resident of the Sheda business community, said that in 2019 when the business first started, her children were going to school but presently only one out of three attends school.
According to her, the high cost of cassava and the high rate of attack on farmlands have affected the business and we can no longer make profit.
“They came into my farm, harvested the cassava and yams I cultivated this year to feed their cows, leaving nothing for me,” she said.