Saudat Salami is the CEO of www.easyshopeasycook.com a company that delivers customized domestic services to the working professional who otherwise cannot meet up due to work and timing challenges.
In an interview with Ruth Olurounbi for Tribune Newspaper, she shares how she started her business and the journey so far.
Do you mind taking me through how you started your business, and what led you into it?
When I started www.easyshopeasycook.com it was to provide a service to make it easy for working women to go about their business without worrying about shopping. We started with retailing fresh farm produce bought at Mile12 and other markets. Our need for quality fresh farm produce, traceability of the produce, elimination of adulterated products and better prices made me interested in farming and agriculture.
Questions like why is Mile12 congested, why are the fresh farm produce stinking and mashed by the time they get to the market? Why is adulteration done in the open without consequences? Why are there adulterated foods? Why is the abattoir the way it is? There is hardly any food safety standard in our farms, markets and the whole value chain. That is why we can hardly export our produce and why international franchise hotels/restaurants/ supermarkets still import fresh produce into Nigeria. Around 33 per cent of the country’s land is used as arable land, though about 80 per cent of the land is potentially cultivable so why should we still be import dependent. This is the reason I got involved in the farming process to influence the food that comes into our office and in a way contribute my bit to help the sector. In order to provide top quality service to our customers we have to be part of the process that brings the produce to our office.
How old is your business and where do you hope to be in the next five years?
The idea was conceived and started nine years ago. It took us a few years to find our foot in the industry and stabilise but three years ago we did that, put in place proper business structures and set up a proper corporate governance system. A large number of farmers need retail companies like www.easyshopeasycook.com to help them store, package, distribute and market their produce to final consumers so our five-year plan is to expand and serve about 30 per cent of the Lagos market and move to major metropolitan cities in Nigeria.
There is a lot of work to be done in the local market but exporting Nigerian fresh produce to foreign supermarkets is very attractive to me so we leave that door opened.