Meet Young ABU Graduate who is a ‘Potatoe-preneur’ in Jos
AREWA AGENDA – For many young graduates in the country, rolling their sleeves and getting into the mud to eke a living is not an option but for young people like Faruq, being industrious, lacks regards for Degree qualifications and is not determined by white collar jobs.
Known as Faruq Mai Dankali, the 27 years old graduate of combined honours (B.A) Archeology/History from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria class of 2016/2017 did not wait until he could clinch a job that requires corporate dressings and official outings before playing a key role in the economy.
Faruq who spoke exclusively to Arewa Agenda said he ventured into his own business of sales and distribution of irish potatoes immediately after passing out from his NYSC program last year.
“I learned the trade on the job, following my friends to markets and villages where the commodities are being farmed and harvested. My friend thought me the tricks of the business after which I raised small capital to venture into it.” He narrated.
Faruq, popularly called Police in his undergraduate days, operates from about five different markets in plateau state.These include the Mangu market in Mangu Local Government area of the State which operates every Fridays, the Bokkos market which operates every Thursday and another market under Bokkos Local Government Area known as Mai Katako which operates every Mondays. He also visits the Barikin Ladi market for every Fridays, then Anfam market which operate every Tuesdays.
Faruq revealed that he entered into the market by purchasing small quantity of the product and advertising on social media with home delivery on order, until his capital increased and he was able to pay for a stall in the market.
Revealing that his Head of Department at the University is one of his main patronizers, Faruq said, “I try to be truthful and sincere in my dealings without cheating anyone and most customers always appreciates this. Sometimes they buy me gifts, sometimes they time they pay may extra.”
Faruq who is from a business oriented family said that as the first born he was inspired to venture into business because of his background and upbringing coupled with a Kannywood movie – Ruwan Dare – he had seen while serving. He said the movie centered around young graduates who wasted their time aiming at white collar jobs instead of venturing into something useful and they ended up become useless.
“I recommended the film to many of my colleagues at the time. I seriously didn’t want to be lazy.” Faruq quipped.
Faruq who said that sometimes he buys goods and resell at the same price, sometimes with little profit or even sells at a loss, due to the nature of the business stated that he is not averse to promising Job opportunities in order to be able to utilize his qualifications.
He noted that his business has come to stay as he is already into it together with some other graduates. “We deliver to every state of the federation even if it’s a quarter bag. Whenever I go to the village I have someone, also a graduate who takes care of the business in my absence, two of my younger ones are also involved. We started with little or no capital doing three to five bags per week now we are doing an average of twenty bags per week.”
On what he has achieved so far on the business, Faruq said, “Sincerely I have achieved a lot of things. I am able to shoulder some domestic responsibility at home sometimes I even clash with my father because I will come home with some purchases and meet that he had done the same. Additionally, my marriage is coming up soonest all from this business.”
On challenges associated with the business, Faruq said “The job is quite stressful, for instance yesterday (Monday) we were terribly beaten by rain when we went to source for the potatoes in the villages. Sometimes its pressure from client before goods arrive their destination that weighs us down, they keep on calling and we have no option than to keep calming them until the moment they receive their supply. Sometimes when it’s up to 24hrs and the driver is yet to deliver the goods, we return to the park where we registered it and trace the driver to confirm his location, you know vehicles have no guarantee and anything can happen on the road. Another challenge is the perishable nature of the potatoes, sometimes it gets meshed on transit and one bad potato can affect the remaining bags. So sometimes we either share or absolve damage with the client after they show us photographic evidence.”
Faruq called on graduate to venture into businesses instead of waiting for white collar jobs as many entrepreneurship opportunities abound if they will agree to look inward.
The production and marketing of irish potatoes in the highland zones of Plateau State has become an integral part of the rural economy, both at the rainy and dry season as it is cultivated both as rain-fed and dry season crop.
Arewa Agenda is a publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives.