Nigeria’s Business Environment Is Getting Better-Eleojo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria’s Business Environment Is Getting Better-Eleojo

Mrs. Eleojo
Posted: May 12, 2016 at 1:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 Mrs Eleojo Peters is the chief executive officer of Eleojo Foods Nigeria Limited.  In this interview with Ikechi Nzeako and Nkasiobi Oluikpe, she says Nigerian entrepreneurs are producing high quality products , and that the business environment in the country is getting better.


What line of business are you?

We are involved in the agricultural value chain. We are producing rice, palm oil, bee honey; we have our farm from where we extract our honey. We also do dry bitter leaf. We have six products running currently in the market right now.

Why exactly did you form the company?

We decided to go into agriculture for certain reasons. We discovered that the generality of the populace are now tuned to the imported polished foods, which is now affecting our health in a negative way.

You can see children having diabetes and a host of other diseases because of the food they eat. It is strange, these and many more are a result of what goes in to their system.

In Eleojo Foods, we decided that if we put natural foods on the table back again, it would improve on the health of the people and then prevent various diseases. You also know that there is a lot of unemployment in the country; if you go outside, you will discover that a lot of our youth are just idle, with no job. Agriculture is a sure way that we can use to reduce unemployment.

For instance, we have our farm where people are working; we have two factories and people work in there. To a reasonable extent, we have been able to take to about 30 people off the labour market and off the streets. We are also into women empowerment and besides farming; quite a number of them are in our distribution chain. That is what motivated us to go into agriculture business.

For how long now have you been in business?

We started officially in 2012 when I retired from my paid employment. I returned to my village in Kogi State where we are presently located.

 How is business doing generally?

The business has two phases. It is challenging and at the same time rewarding. It is challenging in the sense that there are whole lot of issues, starting from human resources. What I mean is that, you encounter difficulties getting the right minds. You have to begin to work into the minds of people to get them back into agriculture.

Secondly is the problem of infrastructure. You have to do your own roads, generate your power yourself; then logistics, they are all there. But despite all that, we decided that we were going to move on because we see a brighter future. When we started, we didn’t have any equipment, we were using our hands and doing the jobs manually. It was affecting us, but we continued. Today, to the glory of God, we were able to have some equipment, to the point that we have two factories running.

You displayed Adjele Rice, what differentiates it from imported rice?

Adjele Rice is wholesome and natural; it is also unpolished. Many people choose unpolished rice because of its health benefits, which include lowering of the risk of developing diabetes and it is a good source of manganese and selenium. Eating unpolished rice also prevents weight gain and lowers cholesterol level. Unpolished rice is a good source of phytonutrients, which is an oxidant. Consumption of unpolished rice also reduces the risk of developing metabolic syndrome; it also promotes bone heath and has positive impact on one’s cardiovascular condition.

What else do you produce?

We produce also high quality honeybee, which is of very high quality. We also produce Adjele Palm oil.

 How do you assess the business environment as a whole?

Well, as a whole, it is picking up, especially in the manufacturing sector in the sense that we can do a lot of things now. For instance, the dried bitter leaf, I am surprised that a lot of people love it. They are even buying it in bulk and taking abroad. So the business environment is picking up because people are forced to use their heads to create things. Also the market is there; in Nigeria, there is market. For instance, the locus beans (iru) people buy it and take it to South Africa for sale. The business environment is picking up but we still need the enabling environment.

Government is doing their best, we appreciate them, and it will also be good if they do more. Our roads should be made motorable, there should be infrastructure and there should as well be maintenance for what is already on ground. That way, we will be able to turn Nigeria around.


I have spoken to some business people, I discovered from them that after sometime, the passion wanes. What do you think is responsible?

It depends on what motivated you in the first place. For us, right from the beginning, we set out to address a problem. Despite all the, we are focused on a goal. We set that goal from the beginning, so we made sure we weren’t derailed from that goal. Because we have our eyes on the goal, most times we run a heavy loss, things don’t move the way we planned them. But then, we did not allow that to take us back. There is always a way to do things and we kept finding that way every day. That is what has sustained us in the business.

 The Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, has earmarked funds for SMEs like yours.  Have you been able to access some?

Yes, we have been able to access some and that is why I said the government is trying. But then the conditions of the commercial banks are so many. It is not every entrepreneur that can meet those conditions. But if you are determined and you know that you are not just there to collect money and run away (you will be caught anyway), when you get it, you will be able to meet all their conditions.

What is your advice to potential entrepreneurs?

My advice to them is that when they set out to do their business, first and foremost, it should be clear in their minds that it is not an easy road to travel, as a result they must be persistent. Persistency is the keyword for a successful entrepreneur. If you are persistent, you will be successful and see the end of it. They should keep an eye on the goal; never allow themselves to be distracted because a lot of things will come along the way. They should just be focused and keep their eye on the goal.