Dangi Foods is pushing to revive the love for potatoes in Nigeria.
It says the tuber has fallen out of favour among Nigerians, who are sticking with other sources of carbohydrate, especially rice. There are a couple of reasons for this. For consumers, it’s the time it takes to make a meal from potatoes. And for farmers, it was the scarcity of proper storage units.
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Dangi’s founders came up with a solution that would tackle both problems at once: an enterprise that buys the potatoes off of the farmers and makes them into easy-to-prepare chips. They launched this solution in 2011.
At its factory in Kuje, FCT, the company processes truckloads potatoes and packs them in attractive, nicely labeled bags. The products are then moved to the metropolises, where they are sold. The closest major market for the processed potatoes is the central districts of Abuja, about 36km from the Dangi Foods factory.
There are three distinct items on the company’s product list. Its Frozen Sweet Potatoes are packets of potato sticks that can be eaten with a variety of stews and soups. There’s also the Hash Brown; it’s sliced differently, but goes with a similar range of sauces.
A third product, the Frozen French Fries, comes in 1.5kg and 2.5kg packs and can be consumed with chicken stew, tomato ketchup, or egg sauce. A two-year lifespan gives it an extra advantage over many potential substitutes.
These products are currently battling a host of imported potato chips for consumers’ loyalty. A report from 2017 claimed that Nigeria imported about $250 million worth of potato chips annually up until that point. It’s a surprising reality, but one that local brands are trying to change.
Dangi Foods sources some of its potatoes from its farm in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State. It also has an out-grower scheme, in which it provides resources to farmers and buys their potatoes when they are harvested. According to information on its website, the company has engaged over 10,000 crop growers through this program.
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While it’s involved in research to help improve potato production in the country, Dangi Foods says its products are wholly organic. The founders are positive that they do not use genetically modified potatoes. They rely on an in-house quality control team to ensure that production standards remain high.
But Dangi Foods isn’t content with feeding a fraction of Nigeria’s population. It wants to eventually exceed its current 60,000 tonnes production capacity, and attain the status of Africa’s largest potato processing plant.
Featured image source: Dangi Foods
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