“Food Processors need to pay more attention to the value of packaging”, says Richard ‘Fish Boss’ Agetu, the co-founder of Richsi foods, a food processing startup that process and package clean oven dried fish in Abuja.
After graduating from University of Ibadan, Fish boss who studied fishery management had the opportunity to serve with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja where he was posted to the department of fishery. His experience in this department and passion for fish production birthed “EJAZUKI”, a packaged fish brand of Richsi Foods.
Highlighting the challenges faced from inception, Fish Boss decried the problem of fish farmers in meeting production demands. In his words, “Consumers possess artificial mentality about locally made in Nigeria packaged foods, they think all packaged food are genetically modified”. He stated how government policies is affecting fish processing and why funding had been one of the major challenges weighing down the productivity of food processing industry.
Being a beneficiary of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, Richard “Fish Boss” Agetu appreciated the programme been a helpful initiative for startups. “Richsi food is wrapping up a private investment talk with an investor in which the investment will kick-off in the second quarter of 2018”, says Fish Boss.
Stressing the challenges with fish suppliers and farmers, Fish Boss emphasis why fish farmers compromise quality due to cost of production. In his statement “You have to be an expert to recognize quality fish, as an expert I advise farmers on how to manage their production process to produce quality”. He further said constant supply of fish and proximity to source of supply had been a major issue, “I source my input from Ibadan which is far from Abuja”. Nonetheless, Fish Boss also stated that the increasing demand of fish inputs from processors is a huge opportunity and more players will benefit profitably in this area.
According to Fish Boss, Nigeria consumers are selective in their purchase of food products and this has created limitation to productivity. On the other hand, emphasis on the now and future opportunities of the packaged fish market as a result of large consumers market. As regards to competition, Fish Boss said the open market offer cheap prices to consumers leading to stiff competition.
When asked about distribution channels, he responded “we’ve been doing direct sales, online sales and working with third party retailers. Bulk of the demand comes from Lagos, Ilorin, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan and Abuja”. EJAZUKI had sold 3000 packages from January 2017 till date.
Richsi Foods will to take over Nigeria in 2018 as they unravel plans to access all regional market and supermarket chains across the country. The stride to change processed food narrative in Nigeria will commence after they have fully obtain NAFDAC Certification which is currently in process.
Pathing with Fish Boss, he lamented the mediocrity in the industry has regards packaging. “Food processor should adopt eco-friendly packaging and encourage zero defect delivery to further inspire the buy naija and grow naija initiative” he said.