How Watermelon business thrives in Abuja – Trader

Watermelon business is a lucrative business in today’s Nigeria either by packaging or reselling them. Apart from the nutritional benefit and its availability in the market, the business is very easy to set up depending on location and style of operation; ADEOLA TUKURU writes

Due to the flexibility seized by the watermelon business, sellers are often found at street corners while some push their produce in carts from street to street. Yet, there are others that raised the bar a bit higher, selling fruits in groceries.

One unique thing about selling fruits is that the business can be run from one’s home on full time or on a part-time basis depending on choice and clients. 

Location of business 

Mallam Abubakar Yusuf who hails from Kano state explained to Business Starter that a seller may choose to stay in a certain location for buyers to come to you, while the itinerant sellers move from place to place seeking buyers. 

Operating at this level, sellers target the highbrow areas, where people appreciate fruits. Unlike former times where fruits selling were solely left with the itinerant sellers, grocery stores are spring-up in their numbers in different parts of the country, especially in highbrow areas of most big cities. 

With advancement in technology, which has made mobility and commerce easier, fruits limited to certain locations and geography can be sold in any locality. 

Distribution of Watermelon 

He said all that is required is for the small-scale traders or middle men to get to the sources of supply and buy, for onward distribution to the final consumers, which may be schools, restaurants, hotels, individuals and others. 

The watermelon which is among the classes of fruit brings into millions of Naira into the coffers of farmer, sellers and organizations in the chain of distribution.

Though watermelon is seasonal, they can always be preserved till another fruit season.

Yusuf said selling watermelon is a big business; you need to know where to source them and how to preserve them to make it in the business. Anybody can start the business based on the amount of capital at their disposal.

How to start a watermelon business 

Mallam Yusuf told our correspondent that “aside from getting a good selling location, you need a good refrigerator and have to know how to care for the fruits before putting them in the fridge.

He noted that some do not need refrigeration, but just have to put them in place, where there is plenty of air.” 

Getting his produce  

On the market he revealed that “The market is wide, all I need to do is to go to the depot, where the farmers bring them from the rural areas to Lagos. 

“We get the fruits cheaper, clean them up and package for either the grocery stores or the open markets.

“I have been in this business for the past 8 years, I do not regret entering the business, because it has paid my bills and sustained my family. I make enough money and have to get people to sell for me at different locations” she noted.

His classes of customers 

Explaining the category of people that buy from him, Yusuf said: “I package my watermelon in nylon wraps for buyers to pick. 

“Though, I sell a variety of fruits, I must say our local fruit gives me more money because I go to the markets where middlemen from the grassroots bring them to Lagos; so aside from getting them cheap I get good ones,” he revealed.

“Nigerians are getting used to taking fruits mostly on health grounds and this is boosting our purse.

“Some of us have even devised means of selling the fruits in smaller packages for those that cannot buy a whole stalk. This small packaging rakes in more money, though difficult putting together,” he said.

Health benefit 

Revealing how he gets the supply of watermelon from his local farmers in Abuja and, sometimes, from suppliers who bring them from Benue State. He says watermelon is an important part of a healthy diet. 

He explained that they are naturally low in calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol. They keep the body healthy and can help lower the risk of many illnesses like stroke, heart attack, certain cancers, kidney stones and bone loss. 

“These are some of the illnesses Nigerians may not want to be associated with and as such depend on fruits to prevent them.

Gains in business 

“The market is huge and I must say I have people that come regularly for supply and there is no dull moments, especially during fasting periods, where I make between N40,000 to N55, 000 within three months.

How I started 

Recounting how he started, he said: “I started selling fruits 10 years ago with a cart, but today, I do not see any business better than it. As you can see that I have move from that level to a stall. I pay middlemen that go to the farmers directly; so I buy right from the source,” he said.

Operating a grocery store

Yusuf noted that the location of his business determines the peculiarity of Banana he sells. 

“The business is lucrative and chances are if there are no damages, you have a quick turnover and regularly smile to the bank.

 “The market is huge, as you can see in the chain of distribution right from the people that bring the foil, nylon wrappers to the crates and cartons used for the package. It is a business Nigerians are yet to properly go into.

How to invest in watermelon business 

With the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria agribusiness ideas can create a livelihood for you and watermelon farming is one of them. 

You no longer need to moan about unemployment in the country or the lack of opportunities in the country. 

You can start a highly profitable watermelon business in Nigeria and get a good return on your investment. However, you will need access to large land to enable you take it to commercial standards.

People all over the country and beyond consume the fruit for one reason or the other; therefore there is a high demand for it.

Unlike other agricultural practices whereby you need to continually plant crops; the watermelon farm business doesn’t need that. Once you have actually planted the fruit on your farmland, you can keep harvesting watermelon for the next 12 -15 years.

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