The history of confectionery in Kano State will not be complete without mentioning Kaura Biscuits and Macaroni Company.
This is because the company, established on July 11, 1974, was one of the leading confectionery companies in its hay days in Kano, primarily producing different types of macaroni and biscuits.
Kaura Biscuit and Macaroni was founded by the late Alhaji Sani Marshal, an indigenous Kano businessman. It gradually became a household name, not only in Nigeria but neighbouring countries as well.
The company had many workers who were either directly or indirectly employed.
According to Malam Musa Adamu Haye, one of the major marketers of Kaura products in the early 1980s, the founder of the company, Sani Marshal, started his business in the transport sector, building and construction industry before venturing into production.
Malam Haye also revealed that many people, including him, made a fortune in those days while dealing in Kaura products.
He said that as indigenous dealers, the company gave them a huge opportunity that changed their lives.
“I am 72 years now, but I can authoritatively tell you that whatever I have today is connected to Kaura. I can vividly remember that the company’s jingles in radio stations became like a lullaby to every youth and child then. It gave most of us an opportunity to be what we are today. The memory of our days at Kaura will always be in my memory’s good book. I love telling people what the company did to us. And I kept praying for the repose of the soul of the founder, Alhaji Sani Marshal,” he said.
After the death of the founder, the company survived for some time before it finally closed down.
Until his death, Sani Marshal exclusively owned and controlled what was arguably the largest and most successful indigenous middle scale industry in Kano.
The company remained closed for over 20 years, just as industrial areas in Kano State have lost their vigour as most of their premises have been taken over by weeds and pests. And remnants have been either converted to residential quarters or abandoned completely.
Sadly, industrial estates that usually provided residents with gainful employment, besides goods and services that drove commerce and empowered many, have become shadows.
But residents of the ancient city are thrilled to see that some of the late founder’s children have succeeded in reviving the company, although not at full capacity.
At the moment, the Kaura Macaroni and Marshal Biscuits is the only indigenous company in northern Nigeria with such credentials.
Daily Trust gathered that the return of Kaura macaroni into the market has generated a lot of interest, especially among lovers of the product.
It was gathered that the demand for the product became so high that the company could not produce enough to meet the need of customers.
According to Alhaji Usman Sani Marshal, one of the children of the founder, and the managing director of the revived Kaura Macaroni Company, the firm, which had an initial 3,000 workforce, is now operated with only a little over 100 people.
He explained that the revived company was operating at 30 per cent capacity due to issues bordering on raw material sourcing, electricity supply and other production bottlenecks.
He added that the company began operation in 2017.
He said the national school feeding programme of the federal government was what gave them the push to revive the company.
He explained that when the contract was awarded for the supply of macaroni to the school feeding programme, the Marshals saw an opportunity to revive their father’s investment, an opportunity they have been looking for over a long time.
“To set the record straight, we always wanted to revive our father’s legacy. Fortunately, we got involved in the federal government’s school feeding programme. My brother is handling the biscuit aspect while I am handling the macaroni. Initially, we were only producing for the programme, but gradually, with the little we saved, we began to produce for commercial purposes. That was how it all started,” he said.
He also revealed that it wasn’t easy reviving the company due to various issues related to financial capability, in terms of raw material sourcing, as well as electricity supply.
He added that they were only able to run one line out of the three production plants in the factory.
“You see, it wasn’t easy at all, but we have to do it. Presently, we are only operating one out of the three production plant lines in the factory. We are operating two shifts and we hope to expand if the situation improves. We will welcome any governmental and nongovernmental intervention. We hope other investors would come and invest to allow for full takeoff production in the company. We have explored various avenues, such as the Bank of Industries, for soft loans to expand the company’s production capacity to include spaghetti, but up till this moment, we have not succeeded,’’ he said.
According to one of the employees of the company, Malam Balarabe Musa, the revival of the company is one of the best things that happened to him in recent times as the employment opportunity given to him by the company has saved him from a serious financial situation.
“I look at this company as a blessing, not only to me, but also to many of the employees. The revival of the company has given us the opportunity to have something to do. I believe that should this company begin full operation, many people would be employed and earn a living through lawful means. If I have my way, I will solicit for government assistance to an indigenous company operating in a tense competitive atmosphere,’’ he said.
Another employee, a widow and mother of three, Malama Hannatu, said the company came at a time she needed help the most.
She said her husband died in a motor accident, leaving her with three children to care for. She added that the employment she got after the company was revived has been her saving grace as she can now take good care of her children.