Palm oil processing and packaging is one of the best businesses you can venture into in 2021. My name is Ukpono Kufre Ibanga (Nee Okokon Alfred). I am 34 years of age, an agro-allied entrepreneur dealing on palm oil processing and packaging. Currently, i am the Managing Director of Danni Palm Oil and Food Mart in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State where I also hail from. I am a graduate of Agronomy from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State and currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Crop Production at the University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State 2017/201. I am married to Mr Kufre Ibanga with 3 kids.
Upon graduation in 2011 and eventual completion of NYSC in 2012 at Ogun State, white-collar jobs were not forthcoming. In 2014, matrimonial bells came tolling and I entered into wedlock. In the quest to create economic fortunes and make some cash and quit the never-ending drudgery of being a stay-at-home-mum and wife and to put to practise what I studied in school, I ventured into my mum’s palm oil business in 2016 where we currently process and package unadulterated palm oil for domestic and industrial utility using the brand name Danni palm Oil.
The economic potentials of our business lie in the fact that individuals, especially homemakers, patronize our product because of its nutritional benefits. Various sectors also need the product for industrial utility. These include the hospitality Industry (Hotel, restaurant, eatery operators); food processing/confectionery companies; pharmaceutical industry; educational institutions with boarding facilities; bakery operators etc. Wholesalers and retailers work with us to supply the product.
I started with a working capital of Sixty Thousand Naira (N60,000.00) only, which was my savings I used to do a bulk purchase of the product to supply before putting the profits into setting a mini processing plant.
My high points have been pushing our products into the market and our satisfaction, the acquisition of customers’ positive feedback, comebacks, referrals and incremental sales.
My low points have been when supplies do not meet up with demands due to low production; moments where choices of domestic issues compete with business matters; when logistics handlers do not deliver product within the required timeframe to customers; when funding opportunities are not met among other teething challenges common to SMEs.
I admit the thought of giving up in the face of challenges has crossed my mind. However, when I recollect the perseverance of my enterprising parents and my lovely kids I get inspired to stick to the grind of entrepreneurship.
My business is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as an Enterprise. Though I started as a sole owner and runner of the business, I now have five staff working for me full time and another three part-time staff.
My mentors in business have been Mrs Ifeoma Chuks Adizue whom I very fondly call Coach Iphie of the Uncommon Woman Circle. She teaches women how to birth more of their dreams. I got admission into the Uncommon Woman University that she promotes and took the WHYDRIM Courses in June 2020. Also, Mr Timothy Archibong Esu, a tested Entrepreneur, Lawyer and Proprietor of Goldmine Crèche and Schools, has been a great motivational and business development factor to me.
I seek engagements with policymakers and investors. Policymakers can make operations better for me if they could help reduce multiple tax regime and licensing costs for SMEs. Investors can assist with funding, access to larger market and business advisory.
To fellow and upcoming entrepreneurs, I advise them to persevere in their ventures and most importantly seek knowledge from others who have succeeded in the line of venture where they operate and hope to operate. Most importantly, they should work hard, right and smart.
I believe Entrepreneurs can increase the internally generated revenue (IGR) of my State, raise the aesthetic value of the State, generate employment for teeming unemployed youths and increase other economic potentials.
Let this story motivate you into starting a palm oil processing and packaging business today.