My mission is to see Afro Foods on the shelves of every Nigerian: the Alhaji Bawa’s story
A hungry man is an angry man. This saying is a very popular one that drives home the importance of food in life.
No matter one’s class, status or financial strength, having food to eat is a necessity.
As a matter of fact, various social vices committed by some people have been traced to need to satisfy their hunger.
So one would naturally want to invest in the sector, but the challenges and obstacles therein are enormous.
The CEO of Afro Foods and Spices Nigeria, Alhaji Kabir Bawa, is one Nigerian who has surmounted these challenges to establish his food processing business.
Coming from an entrepreneurial ancestral line, one would not be surprised as to the line Alhaji Bawa towed.
Bawa grandfather and father had run successful businesses. Bawa grew up in a family business of construction and general trading.
And so Bawa at a very tender age imbibed the ancestral entrepreneurial spirit and was introduced into the rudiments of business.
Growing up, Bawa attended the Usman Danfodio University in Sokoto where he obtained his first degree in management science.
He proceeded to the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where he got a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
The love and quest for education took Alhaji Bawa outside the shores of the country to the United Kingdom where he bagged a combined Master’s degree in Globalization International Development and Transition Emerging.
Upon his return to Nigeria, Bawa got a job with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
But throughout the period Bawa worked with JAMB, he struggled to find fulfillment in his job as his entrepreneurial spirit kept calling.
In 2006, he decided to answer the call. He resigned from his job and established a building and construction company called Afro Dimension.
Afro Dimension became one of the biggest concrete manufacturing companies in the Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.
This might not come as a surprise taking into cognizance Alhaji Bawa’s background in building and construction.
However, what might comes as a surprise is his venture into food processing and packaging.
Bawa’s foray into food processing came as a result of the frustration and embarrassment he underwent at customs and quarantine offices whenever he travels with food stuff outside the country.
During one of his journey, Bawa was travelling with ‘ogbono,’ a local plant material used to prepare some of Nigeria’s most sought-after soups including the popular Okro soup much beloved across Nigeria. At the quarantine office, Bawa was quizzed about the content of the package he was traveling with.
Without knowing the English name for ‘ogbono’, Bawa could not successfully explain what he was carrying.
The ‘ogbono’ was later confiscated due to lack of proper labelling and packaging.
It was at this point that Bawa decided to process and package some of Nigeria’s local food so as to prevent such embarrassing moments in the future.
Bawa spent the next few years researching on other global brands which packaged processed foods, especially in China and India.
After so much research, Bawa launched Afro foods and spices using his funds from his savings and with support from the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin).
Afro foods and spices after securing certification from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the company commenced operations processing a lot of Nigeria’s local food such as ginger, garlic, yam flour, peeled beans, cowpea flour and a whole lot more.
Bawa who says that his mission is to make the company a multi billion naira food processing company currently employs about 100 staff with already mapped out plans for expansion.
The long term goal of Alhaji Bawa is to see Afro foods on the kitchen shelves of Nigerians in Nigeria and in the diaspora.
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