How To Start A Food Packaging & Export Business In Nigeria.. Guide To Exporting Foodstuffs From Nigeria To USA, UK, Canada & Other Countries
As a result of the massive migration of Nigerians to other countries, the need for food export becomes germane as most Nigerians are unfamiliar with European dishes. In order to meet the need of these Nigerians and other Africans, the European hotels and restaurants are into purchase of food items from Nigerians and the rate of their demand is high as the number of migrating Nigerians is on the increase. Among the unending lists of foodstuffs that can be exported to foreign countries are; cassava flour, coconut, bitter leaf, pumpkin leaf, tomato, cashew, palm oil, groundnut, garri, beans, yam, and ogbono.
Over the years there have been few exporters expected to make available, the needed foodstuff with which to feed blacks in the European nations.
In order to start the food packaging and exporting business in Nigeria, an exporter has to first make a decision in terms of choice of foodstuffs export, ail though at times it is based on demand. It is possible but not advisable that an individual exporter engage in export of too many foodstuffs. As an exporter, you are advised to decide on what to export based on availability and accessibility. To venture into the export of foodstuff that you have restricted access to, is to want to become a disappointing exporter, as some factors may frustrate the availability of such foodstuffs. An example of these factors could be poor road networks within Nigeria.
Secondly, contact a firm in need of your foodstuff. It doesn’t make sense for you to export a foodstuff, hoping to miraculously see a buyer when there hasn’t been a fore-knowledge or contact of and with an organization, in need of what you export. The whole idea of contacting a firm in need of your packaged foodstuff doesn’t mean that you as an exporter based in Nigeria must have a firsthand contact with a company in need of your service but can equally send these goods through a relative (otherwise referred to as a commercial agent or sales agent) based abroad who will in turn, make contact with the organization in need of your exported foodstuff.
Before you export any item, make sure there has been a demand for such item. Your items must not leave the shores of Nigeria and appear there without a potential buyer on standby. There are some cases where a particular exporter has no one to sell to overseas in terms of a known client. In such situation, he or she is to engage in huge advertising on known social platforms such as using Facebook and Facebook ads and tags, twitter, Instagram and even whats app. This will help create awareness for the existence of your items and in return, bring you closer to interested buyers.
In addition to contacting a firm in need, you as an exporter must decide a channel of export. In deciding these, you must consider the cost and the speed of delivery. Either NIPOST or Air transport are the two popular means of delivery for an exporter who don’t have a relative abroad. Don’t be afraid of the cost for air transport. You are supposed to include the transport cost as part of additional costs, which also has a sub-cost like packaging cost. The essence of choosing a speedy means of delivery is that, when clients discovers that you always keep to schedules, it will increase your chances of getting more clients as you will be referred to other firm in need of the kind of service that you deliver.
More so, you will have to have a design and packaging kit for your items. It helps clients differentiate your supplies from others. The whole idea of packaging is to present items that are hygienic and to give your clients some level of respect. An exporter of stock fish for example, should wash the stock fish thoroughly and then package them before exporting them. You never can know how, but packaging of these food items will go a long way in fetching you more deals in the future.
Furthermore, you will have to legalize your trade. This involves having the assent of relevant authorities in charge of food inspection in Nigeria i.e. NAFDAC and SON. This is for an exporter or exporting firm who have sustained enough running capital from the same business.
Why legalize my trade?
It will give you an upper hand among other competing exporters over here in Nigeria. The truth of the matter is that, as pressing as the foreign countries want our foodstuff, they also want to ensure that the food coming out from their stores are not in any way contaminated because they owe every customer a duty of care.
A NAFDAC number and SON attestation of the genuineness of your items will help your export business. Don’t be a miser and expect to count pounds. It is locally said that “we use money to chase money”.
Finally, you will have to open an account with a well known bank in Nigeria in order to make payments easy. You don’t expect your foreign customers to also ship your money in cash the same you shipped the foodstuffs. Therefore, having an account with a well known bank will aid transaction. You will grow to a certain level where these customers will pay you for a delivery that you are yet to do because of the level of trust and this part-payment will help you arrange for the delivery of the foodstuff, so if you don’t have an account, you may not succeed in this business of packaging and exporting foodstuff in Nigeria.
As a note of encouragement, you must become a reliable exporter. Once customers know that you are serious with your business, they will want to have you supply all the foodstuffs that they need. Most importantly, don’t build your whole life around this export business. You must have an eye on diversification as everyday sees new competitors troop into the foodstuff export business and this means, a decrease in aggregate demand.