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Kilishin Gwandu: The secret behind its high demand in Malaysia, Japan

Two things make Gwandu town in Kebbi State unique: Apart from being the home of late Abdullahi Fodio, it is known for its tasty Kilishi.…

Two things make Gwandu town in Kebbi State unique: Apart from being the home of late Abdullahi Fodio, it is known for its tasty Kilishi. Apart from the locals many others who visit Gwandu town do so to either to take a look at the tomb of the late Fodio’s son or to buy their cherished Kilishi.
It is not surprising to see people from different states of the country, and even from countries like Malaysia, Japan, India and America trooping into Gwandu for any of these.  The preparation of Kilishi is a major occupation of the people in Gwandu, and it is in high demand from within and outside the country, particularly in Malaysia, Japan, India and America. 
Speaking on why people prefer made in Gwandu Kilishi, the Chairman of the Kilishi Sellers Association in the town, Malam Abubakar Gwandu said “We don’t have any other trade here. Kilishi is what we do and we do it well. You cannot compare any other Kilishi with the one we prepare in Gwandu. Those who patronize us have realized this fact, and that is why our Kilishi is in high demand. Do you know they come from Malaysia, India, Japan, America and other countries to buy Kilishi in Gwandu?
Three days ago a man came here from Malaysia. Having arrived Birnin Kebbi he came to buy Kilishi here. He told us they love our Kilishi so much in Malaysia, because of the special way we prepare it. He bought N25,000 worth of Kilishi from me. He also bought from other sellers here and took all of it to Malaysia. We normally prepare our Kilishi in a special way for people taking it out of the country, in such a way that it would remain intact for 3 to 4 months without getting spoilt. We have different prices for our Kilishi. The price ranges from N2000, N1500 and N1000. In a day I could make up to N50,000 and at times I could make N40,000 or N30,000. It depends on the patronage. We make more money from people that are coming to buy from us from outside Kebbi State and Nigeria, than we make from our local customers”.
Chairman of the Kilishi sellers added that the Almighty has so blessed the work of their hands to the extent that Gwandu Kilishi is second to none in the entire country. “The reason for this is because we always use good meat for our Kilishi. We don’t use cow or goat that is not healthy or unsuitable for consumption. If we slaughter a cow and discover it is not fit for consumption, we will not use it to prepare Kilishi.
Again, the secret behind the patronage of our Kilishi is that we use different pepper ingredients to prepare it. Competitors from other states have not discovered this, and it will be hard for them to know how we prepare our Kilishi to taste the way it does.  That is why who ever tastes our own Kilishi must come back for it. Nobody can resist it, the way they could resist other Kilishi, except they have not tasted it before.”

Talking about its preparation, he said “We always make sure that we take time to prepare it well. We also ensure it is properly dried in the sun before we give it the other treatment it requires while on fire. And that is why those who buy it from us can keep it for many months, without fear of it going bad. We don’t always leave anything out when preparing our Kilishi because we are always mindful of the fact that we are making it for human consumption. Those who patronize us daily have no doubt about our Kilishi, in terms of quality and taste because we have never disappointed them before. This is what we know how to do here and we must do it better. Quite a reasonable number of us that are into this business in Gwandu, have no other means than this Kilishi trade”.

He explained that their customers sometimes prefer their Kilishi prepared with goat meat. This is only on demand because our Kilishi is prepared with cow meat. “If that is how they want it we are always at their service. But mostly we prepare our Kilishi with cow meat. It takes us about 3 to 4 days to prepare Kilishi. When we slaughter the cow on Friday, it takes us the whole of Saturday and Sunday to deal with the meat. By Monday we will start with the preparation, add all the necessary ingredients to it, put it in the sun and allow it to dry well, before putting it on fire for the final preparation.
I will tell you that since I started this Kilishi business, I have never taken it out for sale anywhere. This is my 12th year in the trade, but I have not taken it outside Gwandu for sale. Instead people from different parts of the North, states in the country and even countries like Malaysia, Japan, America and others have been coming here to patronize us, they prefer  our Kilishi. Whenever people want to buy Kilishi outside here, they would ask from the sellers if it is from Gwandu. They know our Kilishi is unique.
I started this business before I got married. Today, I am married. I have four shops where I sell Kilishi. I don’t have any other business other than this one, and the Almighty has blessed me more than I can imagine in this trade. We have more than 30 people as members of the Kilishi sellers association in Gwandu.”

Another Kilishi seller, Umar Yahaya said “If government had assisted us, we would have grown this business more than it is now in this town. Our Kilishi is in high demand. Most times we are unable to meet the demand of our customers. Our customers come from different parts of the country and some of them occasionally come from outside Nigeria. Unfortunately, we have limited resources to meet their demands. We could only produce for them with the little resources that are available. We can do more than this if we get assistance.
Aliyu Bakapawa is also a Kilishi seller in Gwandu. Apart from owning a shop where he prepares and sells Kilishi in the town, he has other people working under him. They always assist him to take it to other environs like Aliero, Jega, Kalgo and other big towns in the state, for sale “I sometimes take my Kilishi to Birnin Kebbi and other big markets in the state. People often come here from different areas of the country to patronize us. They are always here from Abuja, Kano and even from Lagos. If you ask me why they are coming here I would tell you that it is because we prepare our Kilishi in a special way. For us in Gwandu it is the only business that we do, so we take it very seriously. We are conscious of the need to satisfy our customers, so we always add the necessary ingredients that normally give it the desired taste, and they appreciate it. I am over 30 years now and I have not done any other trade in my life apart from Kilishi. I will say the Almighty has been kind to me. He blessed me through this business and I have no regret selling Kilishi.”

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