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Entrepreneurship     |     09-09-2015
Ogi (Pap) Business - Treasure From Grains
By Omiko, Awa | Culled
White pap
White pap

Taking pap made from guinea corn, maize, sorghum and millet has remained the favourite of some people. Apart from mothers using pap to complement infant food formulas, some adults take it with bean-cake, moi moi, fried potato chips or beans porridge to make a complete meal.

Knowing that most people, who like pap beverage cannot undergo the intricacies involved in preparing it, some have taken the challenge as their means of livelihood. They prepare and package different varieties of pap in large quantity for sale. These enterprising persons have gone ahead to also dry stuff, often referred to as pap cake, so that they could stay outside the refrigerator for days before use.

Explaining how she began to prepare pap flour for sale, Augusta, said: “It came by accident. I was relieved of my teaching job in a private school, when I was nursing my baby. So staying at home, I thought of what I could do to earn money. I first started with corn flour, preparing it for my baby and neighbours, but with time, I began to sell it to make money.

“The first sale I made spurred me to do more. I invested N5,000 into it and made N15,000 excluding the little portion I kept for my baby. Seeing this, I put in more money and within a month I made above the N30,000 monthly salary I earned as a classroom teacher,” she revealed.

Seeing what comes out of the business, Augusta after weaning her son refused to go back to her teaching job, she disclosed: “I could not leave pap making business, though it is menial, it provided the money I spent while I was not working. The business gave me thrice my teacher’s salary in a month. All I did was acquire the necessary materials and began to buy shed maize in bags. I graduated from a bag to two, then to a variety of maize and other grains like guinea corn, sorghum and millet and since then it is either pap business or nothing.

Could this be a cure to unemployment? Augusta noted that there are a lot of things unemployed people could do to make money and even employ others. “Some people are unemployed not because they do not have skills or are not strong enough to work, but because they have refused to use their innate abilities to solve problems and create wealth. Wealth creation is about positive thinking, being creative and doing the ordinary things of life in a way anyone would seek for your services or the materials you produce. It is this attitude that has turned a laid-off worker like me to an employer of labour.”

Iya Ologi, who has sold different varieties of both wet and dry pap cake for over 15 years, revealed that no part of the maize grain is wasted.

According to her from the bran to the paste and water, pap can put food on the table of anyone that knows how to prepare it. “All parts of the grain bring in money. At times some people only buy the water and they mix it with some leaves and fruits, as medicine. While people who keep fish ponds, poultry and domestic animals come for the bran. Surprisingly, some people mix this bran with tapioca as a meal. I make close to N40,000 from this alone.

For Funke, she began making corn slurry when she discovered that the woman supplying her neighbourhood does not maintain good hygiene while sieving the slurry.

“I used to find strands of hair in the pap a woman supplied my family; it was irritating to find such, so I began to doubt her hygiene. It was this that spurred me to start preparing pap cake for my household, friends and later neighbours. I made N20,000 in just one week while trying to displace the woman. I never knew corn food could give so much money until I ventured into it. I later started doing it on part time until 2010, when I went full time. I make between N80,000 to N90,000 a month and during fasting periods I can make up to N150,000”, she said.

Identifying Funke with quality product, neighbours began to ask her to prepare pap cake for them using grains like sorghum and guinea corn.

“I moved from using white maize to the yellow brand and then guinea corn. Nursing mothers prefer the yellow brand, while most men go for guinea corn, sorghum and millet. Most adults prefer guinea corn pap cake because of its nutritional value.

“The grain is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals needed for bone formation, good health and strength. Adequate intake of iron supports the transportation of oxygen in the body and helps promote cell growth and development. Potassium helps maintain fluid balance. High intake of potassium improves blood pressure. While they leverage on the health advantages, I make money providing different slurries.

“With a bag of guinea corn costing between N5,000 to N7,000, I make as much as N25,000 in a week. I exhaust a bag of maize, millet and sorghum in a week; the profit margins are high. There is none of the variables that I do not make three or four times the money I put in. It is a business one can do from the comfort of his/her house”, she said.

With simple tools like sieve, trays and different sizes of containers to soak and wash the grains, Juliet said one does not need to own a shop to start the business.

“With as little as N10,000, one can start by buying small measures of the different grains and before long would begin to buy in bags. People love light food in the mornings, especially at the weekends. And once a seller gets his/her bearings right the sky is the limit. I make N40,000 to N50,000 per week working from my home. I make different sizes of containers of pap on demand for different people and also supply restaurants, as well as fast food outlets. I make more money from the supplies than selling to neighbours around”, she stated.

Though the business requires hard work and good personal hygiene, Stella added that operators must be able to interact with people to attract patronage.

“Because I started small, I made sure I let people around me know what I do and through this means, I was able to get 25 regular families to supply pap cake on weekly basis. This number keeps rising as my social network expands.

“On the average I make N50,000 to N80,000 a week. I have two hired hands who I pay N3,000 to N4,000 per day, whenever I need them. I go and supply and come back home to do other things. Since discovering this business, I have jettisoned the idea of going to work for somebody; I decide my take home pay and the pace I want to work.”

What is so special about your pap cake that you make so much in a week from your home?

“Variety is the spice of life, they say. I garnish the slurry with ginger and garlic, which give different flavours. Some people place orders, instructing what particular ingredient they want me to use to garnish their supply. These are some of the things they cannot do for themselves.

“As you should know, garlic and ginger are good for the treatment of cough, headache, stomach ache, sinus congestion, gout, rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, fighting stress and fatigue, and maintaining healthy liver. So, using them give me an edge above others and also swells my account”, she said.

    What it takes to excel at pap making

  • Let cleanliness be your watchword, as this will endear you to buyers.

  • Let your slurry taste fresh; do not make the grains soak for many days in water to avoid sour taste. Allow grain to ferment moderately.

  • Make your packaging neat, do not use printed paper. At best use nylon wrapper as printed paper leaves imprint on the pap cakes.

  • Handle the bran the same way you handle the slurry, because some people buy them as part of their meal.

  • Use clean water.

  • Begin with friends if you are just starting and gradually reach out to others.

  • Make your products available, as this would help grow the business.

  • Get a good refrigerator to preserve any unsold product.

Culled from the Guardian newspaper of Sunday, August 16, 2015.


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