With a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, one would expect Chigozie to focus on a career in line with her degree but in her words, “I believe I was called to do more than just my degree, I was out to fight the rising cost of food prices and bring innovation and the nut place is my vehicle for this”
In 2012, Chigozie Bashua (Agriculture, 2016) went on a trip to the United Kingdom and visited Apollos nut processing plant, Nottingham, this visit inspired her to think of how she can create value from the nuts which were in abundance in her home country, Nigeria. These nuts were mostly exported as raw materials outside the country where they were processed and imported and sold at higher prices back home in Nigeria. What was originally a random visit to this processing unit became a driving force for what is today, The Nut Place.
The Nut Place Ventures is a Lagos, Nigeria based food outfit involved in supplies nuts and organic food products processed from nuts to customers including leading manufacturers of baking products and ready meals. Starting off in December 2016 in her “mother’s kitchen”, Chigozie as a lone staff and pioneer started with her personal funds and focused on tiger nuts processing – Grinding, drying and retailing but faced with the challenges of limited funds to buy processing materials to increase production capacity, hire staff and get a business outlet, the nut place growth became stunted in growth.
To tackle the problems of business management and financing, Chigozie applied for the TEF programme in 2015, but she failed to complete her application. She again applied to the programme in 2016 and this time completed and got selected for the programme which she says has changed her life and business “As an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I have been exposed to a wide network of entrepreneurs, we were trained for 12 weeks and that was the most important aspect for me. The foundation is constantly looking for ways to assist its entrepreneurs and I must say, I deeply appreciate the commitment of Mr. Tony Elumelu and all the people that have committed their time to ensure we succeed in our businesses. The support of the foundation has helped validate my business idea”
From a struggling entrepreneur, Chigozie has taken The Nut place to a model nut processing outfit with several recognition and participation in international events including the International drink festival where her processed products were on display. Today, The Nut place not only processes its products but also operates its plant for other outfits who need to process with its machieneries.
Chigozie says her choice of Nuts processing stems from her believe in diversification of the economy “Our mono economy and over-dependence on oil seems to be doing more harm than good to us. We shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. We need to build a resilient nation and one of the ways to do that is to improve other sectors. Give same attention to other sectors of the economy like the oil industry. We are blessed with so many resources which we have not tapped the surface.
Agriculture plays an important role in the development of the nation but more importantly, agribusiness ensures we do not totally depend on food imports. Due to years of importation of food products, we have been living with constant inflation of food prices. So many people cannot afford healthy food and agriculture plays a crucial role in ensuring that the country progresses economically. I believe that with proper government attention, African countries can start feeding themselves.”
For Chigozie and her team, the dream is straightforward – The Nut place has a vision to become the largest nut processing and exporting company for edible nuts, nut mixes, butters, flours and nut by-products in Africa by 2023. With tools from the TEF programme and business management skills, The Nut place is on the right track for this.
To contact The Nut place, see below: https://thenutplaceng.com https://twitter.com/thenutplace https://www.facebook.com/thenutplaceng https://www.instagram.com/thenutplace/ http://thenutplaceng.business.site/
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