Abdulhadi Iliyasu Dankama is a 300-level student of Mathematics at the Bayero University Kano (BUK), who is making a fortune from selling fruits at the popular Na’ibawa Yan Lemu fruit market in Kano.
The 26-year-old is changing the narratives through the business, which was hitherto attached to old people, by packaging and advertising the fruit on his social media handles and then delivering to customers after purchase.
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In an encounter with Daily Trust Saturday, the Katsina State-born Dankama said he came to Kano eight years ago to continue with his tertiary education after finishing secondary school but later decided to combine his studies with a little business to support himself.
“After I settled down to study, I decided to have something to do to make a little money. My uncle was already doing his business here so I also ventured into the business. Whenever I’m done with school, I will come to the market; I did it until when I finished with my NCE at the Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education and went over to BUK. Today, I’m in my third year studying Mathematics.”
Although he was just a normal fruit seller then, Dankama said during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2019, he realized that the business was not going well and thought of finding a solution.
“I then said to myself ‘why not change the narrative in fruit selling since that is what I do. So, I started packaging and uploading the photos on my social media handle, that is Facebook. I was surprised honestly, I never knew that people will accept the idea but, to cut the story short, people living abroad are buying fruits from me as a gift to their relatives living in Nigeria.
“From there, the business started thriving gradually up to this level. In the first year, I used to receive two to four orders in a day, while in the second year, it grew to six or eight. This year, which is the third, is really surprising to me. I receive 15 to 20 orders every day. In fact, sometimes I would have to apologize to some of my customers as I couldn’t deliver to them.”
He added that he now has orders from outside Kano, like Bauchi, Gombe, and Katsina.
“Even today (Tuesday), I have sent four baskets to Gombe State,” he said with a smile.
Despite the many orders he receives in a day, the young man said he has less than N50,000 as capital and in a day, he makes between N10,000 and N15,000 as profit, aside from many gifts from customers and recipients of the orders.
“The business is one of the simplest I know. With little capital, you can run it smoothly. Like me, I had between N50,000 and N60,000 and that was enough, unless I want to expand, which is my biggest plan. And sometimes, the people we deliver to give us tips. You know, most of the deliveries are not to the people who purchase it. People will buy and ask us to deliver to their parents, friends, loved ones or relatives,” he said.
Speaking about how he packages the fruits to look attractive, Dankama said “practice makes perfect.” He said so far, he has two types of baskets – the VIP and the normal basket, which have different prices and number of fruits attached to them.
The normal basket comprises six varieties of fruits sold at N6, 000 while the VIP contains nine fruits sold at N10, 000.
“All these are put in a basket, wrapped with nylon and delivered to the owners or to the persons we are asked to deliver to. I have a tricycle rider who does the delivery for me and sometimes, we go together,” Dankama explained.
Success and challenges
Through the business, Dankama has recorded many successes which include sponsoring his entire education and daily needs.
“But to me, the success I am most proud of was last year when two graduates came to me and requested that I should teach them how to do this business which I did instantly. As we are speaking now, both of them are deep into the business. The first one is in Katsina and he is also packaging fruits. The second is in Kano and his brother is running the business too,” he said.
His challenge, however, is that of lack of a personal shop in the market, which he said is giving him problems as he has to use his friend’s shop to keep his fruits.
“I have been trying to get a shop in the market but they are difficult to get and very expensive too. That is why I am staying temporarily in my friend’s shop. Like the pear, grapes and apple, I have to always keep them at home and bring the ones I need with me. So, that is the biggest of the challenges,” he said.
He said another challenge he is facing is the lifespan of the fruits and the lack of preservation equipment.
“Sometimes, the fruits may likely decay before reaching the destination for long orders like Kebbi State and so on,” adding that outside Ramadan season, his sales and profit drop by over 50 per cent.
On the payment method, the young man said he preferred the two basic online business payment method; that is payment before or after delivery, adding that payment before delivery is the best.
Future plans for the business
On the plans he has for the business, Dankama said it is a big one and he sees himself as an entrepreneur who will sell fruit even outside the country. With his big dream, the fruit seller said he also wishes to see other people, especially the youth, innovate in the business and come up with creativity in packaging the fruits.
“My plan for this business is big. I hope to achieve them very soon by the grace of God. It is a matter of improving the package. If at this stage people from abroad like Germany and other countries can patronize me, then what will happen if it is improved beyond what we are seeing now? So, I want to see myself as a big fruit seller who owns shops in every part of Nigeria and delivers orders to different places on a daily basis,” he said.
Why the youth should join the business
Dankama also offers advice to his fellow students and youths to join the business as there are many vacancies in it, adding that it can make them employers of labour before and after studies.
“It is no longer a world of relying on government for employment. The youth, especially students, should join the business and try their luck. Many youths can come up with ideas on packaging more than my own, and before you know it, they can grow beyond me. Honestly, I am not thinking about a government job now because I believe it is better to be independent and even employ others,” he said.
He added that many people are calling him to invest in the business but he is waiting for the right time.