‘We sell our fruits in an elitist area; we cannot afford any mistakes’ – Kabiru Mohammed
Walking along the streets of Victoria Island, a high brow area in Lagos, one will not fail to notice fresh fruits everywhere! HAPPENINGS MAGAZINE correspondents Kikelomo Onigbanjo and Odunayo Adeneye had a quick chat with the Vice Chairman of the Association of Fruit Sellers in VI, Kabiru Mohammed. He gave an insight into how the business works, challenges amongst other things.
Happenings Magazine: Personal Details
Kabiru: My name is Kabiru Mohammed from Kano State. I sell fresh fruits in Victoria Island. I am the Vice Chairman of the Association of fruit sellers around this vicinity.
Happenings Magazine: When did you come to Lagos?
Kabiru: I came to Lagos 7 years ago but I started this business about 4 years ago.
Happenings Magazine: Where do you buy your fruits from?
Kabiru: We buy all fruits from Ketu. These oranges come from Edo State, the paw paws come from Ondo State, and the pineapples come from Cotonou and the big ones from Nigeria. The watermelons come strictly from the North. The assembly point of these wares is in Ketu.
Happenings Magazine: How much do you sell these wares?
Kabiru: The prices of these fruits differ. What works for this fruit may not work for another. Pawpaw is #500 at normal price; oranges are sold for #500 per dozen; pineapple, the small ones go for #200 and the big ones go for #500, watermelons are also very expensive. The big ones go for #700 and the small ones for either #500 or #200. Another thing we also do is that we must finish selling these fruits today. We buy all our fruits fresh, so we have to sell it fresh to our customers.
Happenings Magazine: What if you have a spill over of fruit to the next day?
Kabiru: We slice it and give it to people. We cannot afford to sell spoilt fruits to people. You know this is an elitist area; we cannot afford any mistakes. We just have to give them the best.
Happenings Magazine: How have sales been so far?
Kabiru: We have just been managing. Everything is already expensive even right from the market. We don’t even get to breathe at all. In the end the profit we should have made has gone into another’s pocket. It is sad, really.
Happenings Magazine: How is the economy affecting your business?
Kabiru: Well it is affecting my business, but I thank God. I am contented with what I have. Sometimes we make profit of about #1,500 or #2,000 daily, minus the capital. I thank God for his mercies.
I save a lot and I am frugal.
Happenings Magazine: Relationship status
Kabiru: I am not married yet, but I want to marry a Yoruba girl and take her to my home town in Kano. I know you are surprised (general laughter) her name is Latifat and she sells oranges. I love her so much and I can do anything for her.
Happenings Magazine: How do you unwind?
Kabiru: I unwind by eating good food. I do not drink, smoke or womanise. Those things cost a lot of money and I do not have such to throw around. I enjoy myself with good food and I relax.
Happenings Magazine: It was nice meeting you
Kabiru: Same here. Thank you.