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How I was forced to adopt new way of running my business

Modernity is gradually compelling many people, who hitherto depend on traditional occupations for a living, to start modernising the trade they learned and make a living in order to continue to survive.

Traditional blacksmith is one of the local crafts that suffers such setback in Jigawa state as those that inherited the occupation are gradually being forced to change the pattern of the business in order to tally with modern society.

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Malam Surajo Sa’idu Kawaye, is one of the traditional blacksmiths in Dutse, the capital of Jigawa state. He learnt the art of blacksmith from his father.

He specialised in producing of Ox ploughs, hoes and other farm implements.
He said though, the traditional farm implements still make sale in the market but low patronage had forced him to change the pattern of his business in order to stay afloat.

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He said he was told by his elders that despite the fact he had mastered the requisite skills needed for a blacksmith, he should also look for another craft that could serve as a better alternative to his present job should the need for a change arise.

Kawaye said he started learning of his new trade of manufacturing aluminium cooking pot about 15 years ago in Dutse.

After about two years, he was through with his training but as a result of his insatiable need for more skill on his new trade, he decided to relocate to Maiduguri, Borno state, where he went through more intensive training.

Kawaye, also went to Bauchi and Adamawa, to acquire more advance skills in not only in the production of aluminum pots but also on how to do iron casting.

According to him, he is at present one of the most respected aluminium pot producers and iron casting manufacturer in Dutse, saying most of the car and motorcycle mechanics in the town patronise him for reproduction of any type of spare part.

On the production of aluminium pots, Kawaye said one needed to have a workshop that is equipped with a wheel spinning blower, furnace, moulder, red clay, wooden box and waste cast iron.

He said he makes 15 different sizes of aluminium pots and can produced as much as 70 pieces of pots in a day depending on the size.

Kawaye said there were always buyers on ground as he deals with wholesalers, adding that he receives order from as far as Borno state.

“I did not abandoned my ancestral occupation completely, I still work on Ox ploughs, hoes and other farm implements. I took up the new trade in order to go side by side with modernity. It is not only aluminium pots that I produce but many other kitchen utensils. They make fast money, probably, this was what my elders saw that they advised me to go for pot manufacturing as an alternative trade.

“The quality of our work gives us the big market. The skills that I acquired while in Borno, Adamawa and Bauchi aided to the dexterity I have for the job. We produce the best quality and that gives us not only the market but also a good price for our product. We do sell size two of our pots at N1,300, size eight is sold for N4,500 while size 10 is sold at the cost of N5000.

“I am one of the most successful among my contemporaries. Pot manufacturing, accorded me the opportunity not only to marry but also to build a house. I also cater for the elderly members of my extended family.”

On whether he has his own children training under him as apprentice, Kawaye who has a wife and two children, said his children are still young but he is planning for them to take over after him.


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