If you have been in the business of plantain chips making for more than a year, then you’ll surely know that between May to July there is always scarcity of plantain.

This period, the price of a bag (Rice bag) that use to cost between N2000 – N2500 can be as high as N4000 – N6000. By the time you add the ground money (the extra money you pay to the seller); you’ll discover that a bag actually goes for 5000 – 7500 excluding the cost of transportation.

How do you expect to break-even after adding other variable cost?

Sometimes, you may not even see plantain to buy. How do you maintain your customer and service your over-head. Investing in plantain chips business this period can be very discouraging and dreadful.

But, alas! That is about the best time to launch into the deep if you understand the techniques

Below are strategies you can employ during plantain scarcity to get maximum profit and undue advantage in the market place.

1. Reduce pouch content: If you have been filling your pouch with 65grms of plantain chips before, you may reduce that to either 55 or 50grms depending on the prevailing pack size of other competitors.

2. Slant cutting: Don’t slice plantain in round shape rather, make it slant so as to occupy space a little within the pouch and it will also give an impression on the customer as mature plantain because of it size. Plantain chips customer like big and mature plantain.

3. Make your plantain chips taste unique: This is the most crucial point and the differentiating factor that will make people stick with your brand even when it becomes a little smaller. Don’t just compromise on quality and the unique taste they’ve known with your brand.

4. Diversify: The production line of plantain chips fit in properly with potato chips and chin-chin production. There major raw materials are readily available (on season) at moderate prices when plantain is out of season and expensive.

5. Plantain supplier network: You can either connect with people or farmers that bring plantain from inter-land to supply you directly or travel down to buy it yourself in places that are not too far from your location of production. For instance, if you produce from Lagos, you may go to J4, Ore, Sagamu, Ondo, etc.

The disadvantage of this is that you may have to contend with cartels (the hidden plantain distribution chain merchants) before you get to buy at reasonable price.

6. Setup plantain plantation: Developing plantain plantation is about the best. It will offer a backward integration model that will make profit soar especially when it is strategically planned to harvest during scarcity period. For effective yield, you may have to employ the services of an Agriculturist probably at IITA.

Conclusion: Plantain is a seasonal commodity that cannot be preserved for a long time. It is therefore imperative to devise a means to stay afloat in business during plantain scarcity because it will surely come year in year out.

The points highlighted above have helped us stay in business and we believe they would help you too. What do you think?

Image Credit: julieannamos