…As CEO tasks govt on rail system
Ayoola Foods Limited has rewarded its outstanding customers for their contributions in distributions and sales of the company’s products across the country in year 2018.
The company, at an event “Customers Forum 2019” held in Lagos at the weekend, distributed about N20 million cheques to various distributors who have distinguished themselves in 2018.
Speaking to journalists shortly before the question and answer session, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Engr Segun Olaye, said the event was to recognised outstanding distributors in 2018 and to get feedback from the customers in order to “properly strategize for 2019 production year”.
He added that the company would continue to recognise efforts of its distributors who drive the sales of Ayoola Foods brands which include poundo yam flour, plantain flour, cassava fufu flour, rice flour, brown beans, amongst others, to a more enviable position.
The chairman, who lamented a decline in the company’s turn over following what he attributed to low purchasing power of many Nigerians, expressed optimism that 2019 would be better.
“For 2019 we expect to do better to highly increase our turn over,” Olaye said.
“2018 was a very challenging year. We did not meet up our targets because the purchasing power of Nigerians was very low and that affected every business in Nigeria.
“But by and large we were able to reduce our turn over by 17% though still very far from our target.
“For 2019, we just have to believe we can do it. Consistently we must be there. There will be ups and downs but we just have to find ways around it.”
The chairman said Ayoola Foods, producers of Ayoola Poundo Yam flour, Ayoola Plantain flour, and other brands, have been recording increasing demands from consumers across the country.
He added that Ayoola products edge other competitors with 37% of the total market share index during last year review.
The CEO further urged customers to continue to patronise the products, stressing that the brands’ health benefits cannot be overemphasized.
“The health benefits of our products are numerous, especially the plantain flour.
“It is recommended because we use unripe plantain which has so many vitamins, minerals, it helps in digestion, it boost men libido, it boost the immune system and many more.
“And that is why we urge people to buy Ayoola plantain flour because you can be rest assured that what you are eating is unripe plantain. If you buy from any other source you cannot be certain of the benefits because it might be unripe.
“Comparing our poundo yam with the ones made from mortar and pestle, ours is lump free and very easy to prepare like in five minutes you get it done.
“But if you want to go by the traditional way of using mortar and pestle you will spend longer time because you will have to boil the yam, and afterwards you will have to pound and you will be sweating. This takes longer time. But ours is easy way of getting the same thing but faster, easier and more convenient,” he said.
The CEO said prices of the products are modest and very affordable.
“Our prices are not high. Like 1kg, which is 900g can feed five people. So if you buy a pack of that for about 700 naira and it can feed five people, that is, 700 divided by five which is 140, that shows that it is cheap.”
Reacting to ease of moving farm produce, especially from the north to commercial hubs in the south, the CEO charged the government to revitalize the country’s rail system to become more functional.
He said many farm produce, especially perishable goods, do not get to the cities because there is no functional rail system in place that can easily move the products from the north to commercial hubs in the south.
“The problem we are facing on farm produce being spoilt is because there we don’t have efficient rail system,” Olaye said.
“There are no good transport system in Nigeria. In abroad all these things are transported by rail from the farm to the cities and other market places. But here in Nigeria is not like that and even our roads are in deplorable state so goods cannot be moved so easily to urban centres,” the chairman lamented.
In his remark, winner of the star prize, Mr Okeke aka Amo State International Ltd, who went away with N2.8 million, expressed joy over the reward, urging other distributors to put in their best.
“I am very happy today for the honour and award over my contribution in 2018,” he said.
“For 2019, we must all strive to do aggressive marketing so that we can record wide distribution. We must tell consumers the benefits of the products, such concentration of fibre, vitamins and other nutrients to that they can buy them.
“The rice is very fine so as others. For the plantain flour and poundo yam flour, there is no cause for alarm if you take them at night because many are afraid of taking swallow feeds at night so that they won’t have constipation, but this is not the case with Ayoola plantain flour and poundo yam.
Okeke, who started distribution four years ago and based in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said he would consolidate on its efforts to achieve more feats.
Lending a voice, his wife, Mrs Peace Okeke, said: “We started to learned to be our own best customers and consumers of the product.
“We give the product out to people and tell them what it does and we are happy that a lot of people we introduced it embraced the product. We saw Ayoola as hope for us. The product is very good and the raw materials and well processed.”
For 2019, she said: “we are going to intensify efforts in marketing and distributions of the products. We will put our strategies and plans in place in line with the policies and guidelines of the company to see that we move the products to the next level.”
She further enjoin the company to extend its distributions to African countries like Uganda.
“My advice is that the company should extend to countries in Africa like in Uganda. When I went for seminar I found out that they don’t have yam.
“So Ayoola poundo yam will be good market in such a place, so I want them to push the product there,” she concluded.