[Startup Interview] Bridget Bello, CEO, Debmark Allied Farms, Nigeria
Debmark Allied Farms, a Nigerian agriculture and manufacturing startup runs innovative solutions meant to curb food wastage that continues to take a toll on household incomes and national economy.
The startup also manufactures natural and nutritious food compliments to sate the appetite of the health conscious Nigerians. The founder Bridget Bello explains.
Introduce your company
Debmark Allied Farms is a dynamic agriculture enterprise located in Kaduna state Metropolis Nigeria leveraging on technology to market and building a scalable start-up. It is registered as a business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It is a multidisciplinary platform that provides solution-based services. Our trademark solutions are Debmark Allied Farms and Debmark Food. On 15th November 2018 Debmark Allied Farms was registered as a Business Name in the Corporate Affairs Commission with business registration number as BN2694464, Trademark "Debmark Food" and FIRS TIN 22494798-0001
Debmark Allied Farms line is a solution for curbing food wastage in Nigeria. It also focuses on providing natural, nutritious, and healthy food compliments from natural sources at a great value to consumers.
The Debmark Food as a brand consists of the Organic Seasoning (for all meals), African dishes spices and the Stew Mix, Dried Organic products Strips; Dried Oregano, Basil, ginger, clove, garlic, paprika, chill paper, salt, Cummins, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, onions, fennel, cinnamon, fenugreek, mustard seed, and In The Future Dried Mix Fruits, Dried Banana Strips, Dried Mango Strips, Dried Strawberry e.t.c
The first is the Species and Seasoning processing production line. The factory is a small scale and processes from 200kg to 500kg fresh seasonings per day. Each dry batch takes about 13-16hrs to dry and produces a yield of 10%.
Start-up expenses for Debmark Allied Farms include initial insurance payments covering both general liability and product liability, pre-launch marketing to cover flyers, a direct mail campaign, and advertisements in local papers, the development of a website for customer interaction, and the normal legal expenses for consultation and permitting.
Other assets include machinery (solar/hybrid dryer with enough solar panels to power other machines such as washer, slicer, milling machine, water filtration system and pumping machines, packaging and sealing machine) office and store furniture. Long-term assets include the building, equipment among others.
Who are the company’s founders and what are their professional backgrounds?
The company was started by Bridget Onome Bello. She is a graduate of UNIBEN with Bsc. in Microbiology and working with 2 Batalion Medical Reception Station of the Nigerian Army, Kawo, Kaduna. She has over 19 yrs. experience in social child care, over 8 years in Network Marketing and SME development and mentorship of those 5 years' experience in the Digital Network Marketing with over Three million naira in personal sales, and much more in team sales. She is a born farmer and 5 years of experience in Organic poultry, Organic farming, and a trainer. A Leader of teams, and trainer with over 3yrs trained experience as a Consultant. Trained with Impact Project by Mandela Washington Fellowship Association, Improve your exhibition skill (IYES) By International labor organization (ILO) and Digital marketing and business strategy by She Leads Africa 2019
How is Debmark Allied Farms financed?
From personal savings and from lenders.
What would you say are the dynamics that have shaped agriculture and manufacturing in Nigeria?
Nigeria produces approximately 1.8 million tons of Organic farm Produce annually, which makes it the 14th biggest producer in the world and the second in Africa. But wastage accounts for about 50% of those Organic farm Produce. This works out to be a loss of over N72bn annually.
At Debmark Allied Farms our solution is curbing food wastage. It also focuses on providing natural, nutritious, and healthy food compliments from natural sources at a great value to consumers at an affordable price.
Why did you start Debmark Allied Farms? What opportunities did you see?
As a microbiologist who works in the health sector, seeing people coming with the different ailments that can be treated with the right diet. So, I started this company with a desire to solve health issues with superfoods.
The opportunities are the wide range of people who are conscious of their health and their diet. The increasing demand for organic food and seasonings. Organic farm Produce and organic products-based foods are considered healthy for the reason that they are low in calories but possess a remarkable combination of antioxidant micronutrients
What problem or problems does your company solve?
In order to tame wastage of farm produce that cost Nigeria farmers and economy huge losses, we offer a host of solutions that include:
- Units of small processing plants close to farms where any smallholder farmer can easily sell his produce.
- Building a relationship with farmers and influencing them with the knowledge of better farming practices, and help improve their yield.
- Providing better logistics and transportation chain, also recycled crates to store fresh produce during transport.
- GIS mapping for farms, include simple technology in improving their soil, soil therapy, and help provide access to quality seeds.
- Franchising options available.
- Using waste for soil therapy.
Who are your customers?
Restaurants, hotels, health conscious customers, cosmetic industries and pharmaceutical companies.
What does Debmark Allied Farms need in order to grow?
Machinery for large production that includes Solar Dehydrator, Industrial hammer milling machine, packing machine.
Regulatory registration like Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and NAFDAC
What is your growth strategy?
Product Strategy: Debmark Allied Farms will communicate products through:
Branding (Debmark Food)
Core, actual and augmented services
In which countries/markets are you looking to establish your presence?
We are looking at growing our Nigerian footprint and also extend to other countries such as USA and Canada.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
To be able to get our regulatory body registration for our products.
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