Lami Ayuba is a mother of six who lives in Dass, Nigeria. She struggled to make ends meet and provide for her growing children. One day several years back, her children brought back home some soybean seeds and beans seeds from the market where they sweep to earn some money. Since it happened to be the rainy season, she decided to plant the handful of seeds and see what would happen. Weeks later, she had a harvest of about 5 mudus (a mudu is a local unit consisting of 1.25 kg) of soybeans from what she had planted and was excited about it. She decided to use some of the soybean to make awara, or tofu, for her children and the remaining she sold as awara in front of her house. She was amazed to see that all the awara sold out quickly within two days and she made a profit of N350 ($1.30 CAD).
Lami started her home-based business and things were going well. Over the next few years, she sent her children to school and provided for their basic needs from the money she made from her awara business. However, the awara was not the best quality and the cost of inputs was high. Her self-taught method, one of soaking the soybean directly then grinding it, meant that the soya mixture was coarse and required a lot of oil for frying.
Lami registered for MEDA’s project working with their partner, Zunnurrain, and enlisted in tofu-making trainings. She learned to dry her soybean before grinding. This made the mixture softer and the tofu much more delicious! She also used only half the oil she usually bought, cutting down the costs of inputs. Her neighbour, who has been in the awara business for six years, tasted it, and requested for a fresh training because the tofu was tastier than hers.
When asked how the training helped her, Lami said, “I have learnt a better and more time-saving way to make my awara. My customers seem to prefer the awara from this new method, which has increased my profit. My daily profit has risen to 800 Naira (CAD $3).”
These improvements to her business saved her money because she used less oil; time because the awara fries faster, and she makes more profit because her customers buy more. She has started experimenting with soymilk production—an innovative opportunity in her community! Lami is extremely grateful to MEDA for bringing this intervention to her community and she is happy to share this new-found knowledge with other women.
“I am confident that awara and soymilk has opportunities for profit making and I will return to making awara and soy milk in larger quantity once the prices are favourable in September,” she concluded.