Ogbono (Irvingia gabonensis) also known as African bush mango is a very popular soup ingredient in Nigeria. In fact it is one of the most expensive soup ingredients in Nigeria.
It is also known as ‘draw soup’ in some parts of the country. This food product has witnessed a recent increase in price due to the lack of it’s massive production. The ogbono seed is derived from the kernel of the African bush mango fruit.
The trees from which the bush mango fruits are obtained are found in west African countries like Nigeria and southern Cameroon, and also in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin
The trees are majorly located in the rainforests of South Eastern and Southwest Nigeria. They are rarely planted by farmers in commercial quantity.
The reasons for this is that the tree when planted can take upto 15 years to produce fruits after planting, therefore majority of the farmers harvest it from the already established trees scattered across the forests.
Although there are reports of improved varieties that can fruit within 6-8 years. But a lot of farmers are not patient enough to wait that long after making huge investments in an orchard.
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Another problem is that this varieties are uncommon and not readily available. There haven’t been adequate research targeted at improving the unproductive cultural practices currently used by farmers who are into the production of ogbono.
For that reason, we wouldn’t advice the cultivation of this fruit as market research have shown that the most profitable sector of the ogbono business is the distribution or processing of the seed, which is widely used in Nigeria as an ingredient for the famous ‘draw soup’.
Apart from the use of it’s kernel as an ingredient for soup in majority of Nigerian homes, the African bush mango’s kernel contains oil used for cooking, making soaps, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. It also contains waxes useful as an adjunct for making drugs. The fruits can be processed into jam, juice and wine.
Majority of the African bush mango edible seed (ogbono) available in Nigeria is gotten from the South eastern and south southern states such as Rivers, Edo, Cross Rivers, Akwa Boom, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ekiti and Ondo.
The tree flowers from March to June and fruits twice in a year, around April to July and from September to October. The ogbono seed is very nutritious and has been ascertained to contain 697 calories in a 100 gram portion, it also contains other nutrients like fat, carbohydrate, protein, calcium and iron.
In Nigeria, the most important part of the African bush mango fruit is its edible seed (ogbono) which is cooked as soup.
The seed is also exported, although this hasn’t affected the local market as the high demand for ogbono in every part of the country has placed this soup ingredient as one of the most expensive in the Nigerian markets.
So we we decide to put up this post to enlighten, guide and encourage all interested entrepreneur who are willing to invest in this agribusiness.
In the subsequent parts of this post I would be showing you the secrets to making huge profits with the two most lucrative ogbono based businesses which are distribution and marketing of the ogbono seeds.
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Distribution/Marketing of Ogbono Seeds
This business is very simple, straight forward and easy. It involves buying the ogbono seeds in large quantity from parts of the country where it is produced in commercial quantity and then sold in urban centers where it is in high demand.
This business is very profitable due to the high demand of this product. The reason for the high demand of ogbono stems from its consumption across all tribes in the country. It is also very nutritional.
What are the factors to consider before starting?
1. Target market
It is important to study, identify and survey your target market before making any serious investment. This is to enable you to know the rate of demand for the product at the place where you intend to set up, the amount of likely customers, the market size and the competition.
The capital available to start any business determines the size and survival of the business. A business with insufficient capital base runs a risk of going down the drain.
So it is important to make sure there is adequate fund to kick start and manage this business till the profits start rolling in. There should be enough money to purchase the product, transport them to the urban centers and also pay for labour.
Since you are dealing with a food product that is highly perishable, it is important to get a well constructed ware house to enable you store the your products for a very long time.
The warehouse should also be spacious enough to allow you dry the ogbono seeds from time to time so as to reduce the moisture content, thereby increasing the shelve life.
4. Quality supplies
Two varieties are available in Nigeria, the ugiri and the real ogbono, this two cannot be easily distinguished until when cooked.
Therefore it is necesarry that the product is obtained from a reputable source, following the guidance of an expert in the field. It is also important to get as much information as you can obtain from those who are already in the field.
5. Adequate transport arrangement
This is necessary as you will be transporting bags of this products from one region to the other. It is better to make arrangements before hand so as not to lose cash on kangaroo arrangements.
6. Maximize profits
Ogbono is harvested around January-Febuary, this means that it is in abundance and cheap around that period. A lot of merchants maximize profits by investing in warehouses where they properly dry and store this product till its off-season when it’s price would be at its peak.
During the harvest season, a 50kg bag costs between N40,000-50,000 in Southsouth and Southwestern villages where it is harvested in commercial quantity and can be sold during the off season for nothing less than N65,000.
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7. Advertise your enterprise
Raising public awareness to your enterprise through various means of targeted adverts is necessary as it will help improve patronage by boosting customers preference of your product. This can be done through various means such as billboards, fliers, radio/television jingles and social media.
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