Nigerian Startup Takes On Cassava Processing For Garri That Is So Fine

Nigerian Startup Takes On Cassava Processing For Garri That Is So Fine

If you’ve been to West Africa, chances are you’ve eaten garri, a staple food made from processed cassava that’s popular, widely consumed in Nigeria, and sold virtually everywhere in traditional markets.

One young Nigerian startup owner is refining the processing and sale of garri and hopes to scale up the business — if he can secure financing, that is.

Meet Kayode Yusuf, 21, founder of Greenville Organic Foods.

Yusuf is one of 148 young Nigerians who applied for the 2015 Anzisha Prize, an award for African entrepreneurs in the 15-to-22 age group.

He works with local cassava processors to refine garri and sells it under the label So-Fine. Yusuf and Greenville Organic Foods have been featured on the Anzisha website and on numerous news media websites.

Nigerian start up redefines cassava meal business Garri

Greenville products are made without preservatives.

In less than a year, Greenville Organic Foods — located in Alimosho, Lagos state — is earning $600 a month, providing employment for two and stable income for cassava farmers and processors, Yusuf said.

Processing garri is a labor-intensive and time-sensitive operation.

“Farmers must sell off their cassava within two weeks of harvesting,” Yusuf said. “This makes cassava farmers anxious and this anxiety makes buyers price down the cassava. So our coming on board gives some farmers the assurance that there is a market for their product.”

The company outsources production and packaging, monitoring quality to ensure it meets standards. The aim is to raise enough funds to set up the a production plant, Yussuf said.

“It will cut our production cost, we will employ more people, make more profits and best of all, we will be in direct control of the quality of our products,” he told Anzisha.

cassava meal business Garri

Garri is made from cassava tubers that have been peeled, washed and grated or crushed to produce a mash. The mash is placed in porous bags and weight applied to it for several days to press out excess water and starch. By Day 3, the cassava is dry enough for the next step — sifting and frying in an extra large clay frying pot with or without palm oil. The resulting dry granular garri can be stored for long periods. It may be pounded or ground to make a fine flour.

Yusuf’s entrepreneurship comes from an IT background, according to his bio at Herox. He worked with Telecom Answers Associates, a telecommunications consulting and training firm before moving on to Routelink Integrated Systems where he handled sales.

In addition to starting agro-allied food processing firm Greenville Organic Foods, Yusuf is also a partner in Event Village, a small social media startup that helps people plan and publicize events online.

Yusuf is passionate about knowledge sharing and serves as technology lead for Creative Commons Nigeria. An affiliate team of Creative Commons Global, it creates licenses that allow content owners to freely share their work.