GunjurBiz: Creating Milk Tea and Juice Markets - Abubakr Jammeh
Gunjur is by far one of the top producers of mangoes and oranges and amongst the top five towns nationwide in total agricultural production. My heart always melts down whenever I see all those sweet mangoes, oranges, and tomatoes rot on the ground and doesn’t even attract cows for their daily feed due to its abundance. It is time to seize and revive this sector and give it a new lease of life to by maximising our benefits. You don’t have to travel very far to realise how other countries preserve fruits to enable them to have a year-round supply in the market. An example of it is Ghana, where you see the various methods of food preservation from drying to steaming to keep up with the off-season demand hence keeping them in the business the whole year which helps them in maintaining the household incomes. Let us go through the possibilities of creating this market. Capital requirement for a juice business is very low. With couple of hundreds or thousands you can set up a small canteen where you can sell your products. The other things that you need to buy for your operations are a blender, ice cubes (during hot season), fruits (mostly available at family orchards), sugar for those who wants added sugar to their order, water, plastic cups in different sizes, and milk. To raise this capital, you can engage families and friends to buy a share of your business while keeping the largest stake in the business to keep you motivated in making the business profitable. Another option would be to loan you the funds to be repaid at an agreed time or on installments plans. I am confident that many of your friends and families would be encouraged to spend their resources to get you started if you demonstrate the zeal, commitment, and a clear path in running your business. Lack of efficient electricity supply and storage facilities has always been the major factors denying us from enjoying our fruits all year round. You can go around this. You can do many things to address this issue; engage the ice plant operators at the beach to store your fruits at a reasonable cost, a solution that will create a win-win for both parties. You have your goods safely stored and they earn extra income from you. Secondly, there is abundant natural energy supply from the sun, you can slice the mangoes and dry them, package them, and sell them at your stall or to the mini and supermarkets after mango season which earns you even more income. The third option could be buying your own freezer where you can keep sliced manages and orange juice to get you through the off season. This method will require a little more investment to acquire freezers, but hey! With couple of thousands you can get a great one for your operations. You need to scan a strategic location for your distribution. You might have to rent a small size store which cost under D500 or ask for help from friends and families to help you build your own small stall at a corner of one of the catchment areas like the market, Fabaayi Da, 6 Junction, the Round-about (turntable), the schools, and many other great places that suit your position. Your products could range from but not limited to Mango Juice, Black Tea, Milk Tea, Papaya Milk, and Orange Juice to be served as hot during cold season and cold in summer for which you will need ice cubes to serve. This will create another market for ice cube sellers. The production of these doesn’t require any special skill and time, you can serve three customers in under a minute. The process starts with putting few slides of mango into the blender or whichever the customer wants, add water, milk, and add sugar depending on customer preference and they are happy. You will determine your own pricing factoring your operational cost, however, do not charge a high price that your target customers cannot afford or pricing it too low that you will run at a loss. Set up a smart price that is both affordable without compromising too much of your quality to keep your clientele happy and growing. Gambia experiences more of a hot and warm weather than cold, this will make this kind of business a hot cake in the market. If properly set up and run, there is so much potentials for you to learn on the job and create your own flavors and added products to it. Should you need some tailor-made advice on any specific business of your interest, you are welcome to inbox the editor to set up an online coaching with our personnel.
Abubakr Jammeh is an entrepreneur and a banker with over a decade experience in marketing and financial services industries. He is a final year International Business student, earned various diplomas in Marketing, Design Thinking-IDEO U, and various short courses in entrepreneurship management.