Utengheabasi Isong is a native of Mkpat Enin LGA of Akwa Ibom state and a graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering from the University of Uyo Akwa Ibom state. Utengheabasi is a farmer and fruit seller. He has been in the fruits production and sales business for a long while.
According to him, “I started the business with the support of my mum and four sisters in the year 2010 due to the excessive output gotten from the farm. My father, an economist and a farmer trained me in farming although then it was subsistence farming because he did not have many hands. But when I came of age, I had to join him. Thank God it paid off, we acquired more lands and started a pineapple, plantain and banana plantation. Later we added pawpaw and other crops. In 2013 we had to design the farm in such a way that we grew crops like cucumber, watermelon, pumpkin and the likes. I decided to open a small outlet to sell them, so while my mum and sister would be selling, I would be cultivating and bringing it to town (Uyo) from the village (Mkpat Enin) with my dad. That’s how the business grew into a big fruit mart at Osongama estate”.
There are high economic potentials in the fruits production and sales business. Utengeabasi confirms he makes money from selling different varieties of local and foreign fruits.
He estimates that the amount he used to start the business wasn’t up to N8000. He used the money to pay for the business spot and purchase a table cloth. He made use of his family’s centre table, night lamp for use at night, a tray and a chair.
Utengheabasi says he has recorded some successes. In his words, “Yes I have recorded tremendous success so far because I have been able to improve from squatting by the gutter side to a suitable position with a bigger tent, a container to store fruits, a generator to light up the place, joined contribution, etc. There’s a great improvement”.
His low point however has been the weather condition, which affects crop yield and fruit supply and storage of the perishable crops.
Family pressures, loss of money, theft and rodent attack on crops and fruits are some factors that made him want to give up but with encouragement from family, friends and demand for fruits by customers, he has enough reasons to keep pushing on.
His business is run as a family business. His dad and mum cultivate the crops on the farm while his sister and cousin sell the fruits at the shop.
He draws inspiration from Aliko Dangote. Also, he looks up to the Ceo of NTEPs mall and UBOTEX.
Utengheabasi looks forward to engaging with policymakers and investors to scale his business and that of other entrepreneurs in a three-prong approach of Intellectual support through seminars and symposiums, financial support through business loans and grants and commercial support through advertising.
Utengheabasi advises entrepreneurs and those intending to venture into his line of business to buckle their belts and apply the virtues of patience, hard work, consistency and prayerfulness to their work.
Entrepreneurs are the ones driving the economy of the world, nation, states and even families because they offer ideas, innovation, and solutions to the pressing needs of society. They add value to a state and nation.
Let the story of Utengheabasi inspire you to venture into the fruits production and sales business today.