Katsina, Nigeria- 6km away from the state capital, a remote village houses the most industrious business woman the village of Fadima has ever seen.
Fadima is a community of Hausa-Fulani located along Katsina-Kano road before Eka town. Their main occupation is farming and animal rearing.
On a Thursday morning, Cliqq Magazine visited Fadima village to have a chat with the most industrious and the largest creator of human labor in her local community.
Ramatu, a middle-aged married woman with no formal education, her primary occupation apart being a housewife is the business of making local traditional sweet known in the Hausa community as ‘Carbin Mallam’.
Ramatu has been into the business of making traditional sweets after her first marriage which did not last long, as she begin to narrate her success story sitting on the floor with her body against the wall as she speaks with so much calm regarding her million-naira business.
According to Ramatu” I was introduced to this business through my aunt, she taught me everything I know and the skills on how to make the traditional sweet”.
One can feel the authoritative euphoria once you entered Ramatu’s house with over 70 workers including both young girls & boys processing and packaging the sweets with speed and precision.
Carbin Mallam (Local Sweet) as popularly known, is made with sugar and coconut, wrapped & packaged into smaller bits for consumption especially for young children. Its consumption is very much common to people living in the rural areas. It is consumed in large quantity especially during market days.
After she has learnt the skills, Ramatu started her own business of traditional sweet making with N400 worth of sugar and a single piece of coconut. After every production, she takes it to the nearby local market for people to buy, a routine she continues to do until the business collapsed due to lack of sales and inadequate funds.
“I hardly make profit when I started, I was experiencing a very tough time, I am always running on lost but I was determined to succeed and I kept working so hard”.
With so much resentment in her voice, she told our reporter that “At a point in time my mother & grand mother refused to assist me with some cash as loan to revive my business”. Left with no other option, she sold her matrimonial furniture’s to raise some money which she used in reviving her dying business.
Five years later, Ramatu’s story has become a miracle of success upon success to those who knew how she started and to those who doubted her passion. She makes more money now from selling local sweet (Carbin Mallam) than her aunt who introduced her into the business.
” I make more money now that I can’t notice if there is a decline in my daily earning” she lamented with a bright smile.
When asked how much profit she made on daily basis from her sales, she replied “On daily basis I make the sum of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira)”.
She further stated that “I buy 13 bags of sugar daily at the cost of N13, 500 for each bag”.
This means Ramatu buys over 91 bags of sugar every week to run her business while she makes a profit of N1.4 million weeklies from sales of local sweet (Charbin mallam) that is now being sold across the 34 local government areas in Katsina state and beyond.
Katsina state has been ranked as the 2nd poorest state in Nigeria according to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
In Northern Nigeria, especially in rural areas, Girl child education is not given much priority due to factors ranging from economic deprivation, non-availability of schools and lack of enthusiasm by parents to ensure their children get the right education.
In her effort to engage and empower young men and women in her society, she has employed over 80 staff working for her while earning daily income. Majority of her workers are teenagers within the age of 14yr-25yr of age. As at now, she has expanded her market penetration to states like Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos state.
Yusuf Iro, a resident of Fadima told Cliqq Magazine that “Ramatu’s local sweets is being transported to the southern parts of Nigeria”.
Safiya, who works for Ramatu said “Ever since I started working with her, I no longer ask my parents for money, I use the income I get to pay for my school fees and that of my siblings”.
Aisha aged 20years old also added that she no longer disturbs her parents for money, from the income she gets, she provides food for her parents, pay her school fees as well”.
Due to her business of making sweets, young teenagers can now afford to go to school and get the necessary education from the income they earn from Ramatu.
Cliqq Magazine found out that on average, each worker gets a minimum of N500 to N3000 daily, but that depends on the quantity of bits one can make.
According to Ramatu, her dream is to empower young women with skills that will generate income for themselves.
Ramatu has become a role model not only to the people of her community but the entire northern Nigerian women that with hard work & perseverance, they can achieve success in whatever they put their minds into.
For Ramatu, her only challenge is the high price at which she buys bags of sugar and therefore appeal to government to provide subsidy, so she can be able to buy more bags of sugar, which will result to more profit and obviously create job opportunities for Ramatu to employ more people.