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Monday, January 20, 2020

Inside the thriving ‘akpu’ business in Abuja

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‘Akpu’, as one of the cheapest foods in Nigeria, is also reportedly making house owners of women who venture into the business in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja reveals that though akpu is associated with people from Eastern Nigeria, it is also a popular food consumed by other Nigerians.

Adanne Kalu, an akpu seller, said she has been in the business for the past 15 years and the business has taken her family out of poverty.

She said that anyone who has a good culture of saving can get something tangible out of the business.

Mrs Kalu added that she now has a house of her own because of the profit from the business. She said it is a business that young people can engage in for self-reliance and export.

“I started this business 15 years ago. Since then, my family don’t know anything like poverty. I started the business when my husband lost his job and I had to sustain the family.

“We built a house through this business, my children are also in school through this business because it is profitable.

“I make close to N5,000 to N10,000 daily when the market is good, while if the market is bad I make N2,000 to N3,000 daily. So, I have room to save something tangible on a weekly basis.

“I advise the youth to venture into the business. If they have the strength for it because it is difficult to make.”

However, another akpu seller at New Nyanya, Oromene Lazarus, said that even though the business was profiting, it is also difficult to process.

She said: ”the business is for those who have the passion for it and the strength. Otherwise, one can easily get discouraged. But its a good way of making money.

“I have to buy the cassava, peel it, then soak it for three days depending on the type of cassava.

“After fermentation then we grind it, we also soak it in water for like two days then sieve it and take the chaff out.”

She, however, explained that the remaining left overs after removing the chaff would be put in a bag for it to drain out water before cooking.

“The price largely depends on the size, as a wrap of Akpu goes for N50 to N100; so people can afford it easily.”

Similarly, Rose Arinze in Dutse said that akpu business has really helped her family and the education of her children in various schools.

“Life is difficult but this akpu business is really helping me, as I use the money I make to send my children to school.

“The business also helped me to be a land lady, as I used my savings from the business to build my house. I also supply to some restaurants far and near and the patronage is really high.

“Only a few people produce good Akpu in Abuja and I’m one of them because I prepare it well,” she said.

A consumer, Oladayo Kayode, a resident of Dutse, disclosed that akpu has been a lifesaver to him for a long time because that is what he consumes mainly.

“Even though I’m not from the eastern part of the country, ever since I discovered akpu, I have been enjoying it. Not everyone can prepare it because it’s stressful and requires a clean person to make it.”

He, however, advised akpu consumers to be careful of places they eat akpu, as most of them have a bad smell and are not properly processed.

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