Cowpea is an important source of protein in both urban and rural Nigeria. Not surprising, therefore, is the fact that Nigeria is also the largest producer and consumer of cowpea in Africa. More than eight million hectares of cowpea are grown in West and Central Africa
As one of the major staple foods in Nigeria, cowpea plays a key role in the agriculture and food supply of Nigeria. The major consumption centre for cowpeas is the densely populated area of southern Nigeria where they are increasingly being processed and used in the production of bean flour.
The scenario above presents an opportunity for savvy investors to take advantage of by purchasing the product from up North and supplying same to industries in the South.
The return on investment on the trading of cowpea (beans) is estimated between 10 per cent and 15 per cent, according to foramfera.com.
Beans is utilised in making porridge, bean cake (akara) and soup (gbegiri).
They are of different species, such as butter beans, Ion beans, zebra beans and white beans, (common in the North).
Butter beans sells for about N33, 000/50kg bag and N16,500 for 25kg bag. White beans is N32, 000/50kg; brown beans, N32, 000/50kg bag, according to nigerianprice.com.
You can start this business with a minimum of N50,000. This amount however, does not include shop rent and other logistics. It is for people who want to trade in a small quantity and already have a sales point or customers they intend to supply.
With that amount, you could get a bag of white beans or buy half white and half-brown beans, then scale up from there.
The profit margin will depend on where you buy the product and the cost of transporting it to your location.
Some rural markets sell at very low price.
Also, to cope with the challenge of transportation, traders usually put money together and hire a truck to carry everybody’s goods.
You can also buy in bulk if you have an amount ranging from N500,000 to N1m. Bulk purchase guarantees volume discount.
Buying from the North to sell in the South is a good idea because the produce is relatively cheaper in the North, especially in the rural markets.
If you are buying a large quantity, be sure to get a goods-in-transit insurance. Accidents could happen at any time, you don’t want to be on the losing side.
Get customers that you can supply such as retailers in the market and owners of food stores and animal farms.
Choose your customers very carefully because many people like buying goods on credit and owing for a long period.
Supply to reputable companies and individuals; start in small quantities and gradually increase the volume as the relationship is cemented and as the integrity of the person is ascertained.
Concentrate more on the turnover than the profit. That is, do not emphasise huge profit because that can send your customer to another seller. Keep your profit low so that you can have a faithful clientele.