Sunday 13 July 2014     16 Ramadhan 1435
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‘I have been making kujera for over 20 years’

Aso Chronicle caught up with a 50-year-old Usman Kwaso, who was busy under the shed of a tree making small stools used by women in the kitchen (kujera in Hausa language). It was in Tunga Kwaso, a community, which borders the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Abuja Municipal Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Usman explains how he combines farming with making kujera to raise his five children.

How long have you been doing this work?
I started long ago, I cannot remember the year, but it is more than 20 years because I started as a carpenter when I was young. Then, my colleagues, and I used to be engaged by builders and we assisted in roofing houses. It was a lucrative job then. But because of my old age, I decided to retire to a business that would be less stressful.
What motivated your decision to make kujera?
I just decided to be doing it because there is nobody doing such business within the environment and I rarely come across anybody doing it. And the time and energy needed to do it is still better as I can go to the farm and attend to other family issues now.
How do you combine this business with farming?
I only go to the farm in the morning and do everything that I had to do before 2 p.m. when I resume here, where I call my workshop. And when I need to go to the market to get the necessary materials, I do not go to the farm. I go to the market in the morning.
What are the materials you use for the business?
I buy woods, mostly 2 by 2 depending on the size I want, German plywood and nails. The rest are the equipment I got from my days in carpentry like the hammer, chisel, saw etc.
How do you sell the stools?
Residents in the community buy from me while I also take some to the market. I can make about ten in a day so the demands actually determines how many pieces I make in a day, but the business has been good and I have no regret since I started.
How much do you sell the stools?
I sell one for N200   
What are the challenges you face in the business?
Due to poverty in the community, people do buy without paying, promising to pay later. I usually have to run after some people before I retrieve my money. The patronage has been good and the materials I use in the business are always available and affordable. Since I started this business, I have been able to send my children to school and some of them are now in secondary school. The money has been helpful in running the family while we rely on the farm produce for feeding.