The collaboration between fruit and agricultural processing company, UtterlyYum and fabricators of food processing machines in the country has resulted in a breakthrough for the sector.
Shola Adekoya, founder of UtterlyYum, while disclosing the result of the synergy, noted that Nigeria spends millions of dollars every year, importing agricultural machinery and equipment to process fruits as well as other agricultural products at the expense of homegrown talented fabricators.
While announcing the launch of three new entrants to the company’s product line, which led to the innovative breakthrough, he reiterated that the potential of Nigeria’s homegrown agricultural technology should not be neglected because of imports.
According to Adekoya, this unsustainable reliance on imports is why his company consistently looks to find innovative homegrown solutions, by partnering with local fabricators to design and engineer working machines to aid the production process.
“We developed three different products that require that we process fresh coconuts. I decided to turn it to another import substitution opportunity which was a gamble, and I met a local fabricator who showed me what he had done in the past and I decided to go with him. We came up with a working machine that cracked coconut at an incredible rate with efficiency, we were then able to launch our Pineapple and Coconut juice, Dried Pineapple and Coconut and our Dried Fruits and Nuts.”
He further disclosed that the fabricator has secured orders from other processors of coconut oil, coconut flakes etc. using the new method developed in this new version of the machine. “The biggest improvement was that prior to this machine, the ones I came across in Nigeria required that you heat up your coconut before you crack them which means additional cost of generating power that could have been bypassed,” he said.
Speaking on UtterlyYum’s tradition of innovating homegrown substitutes to foreign machinery, as well partnering with other local manufacturers, Adekoya said “For instance instead of building traditional cold rooms that costs millions, we turned discarded cold truck boxes into cold room using coolbot and regular air conditioning units and this has proven successful to the extent that we have had other processors visit our setup so that they can do the same in their organization to achieve the same level of flexibility and efficiency.
“To survive in this environment and pass value to our customers, we have had to make innovation a core part of our culture and we always ask ourselves, is there a better way of doing this? I am confident that we will see more process optimizations as we go along,” he said.