Welcome to Nigeria. An African country with a large population of hundreds of millions of people. In this exciting country we call home, there are certain things you cannot escape from encountering, in fact, these things are basically the staple of Nigerian life. One of them is the dearly beloved sachet water, locally referred to as pure water. It is basically the affordable and portable alternative to bottled water, and you can find it anywhere in the country. ANYWHERE.

This obviously means that the sachet water industry in the country is a massive and lucrative one with producers, suppliers and distributors found in every region of the country. However, on a closer look, as our research has shown, it is not as lucrative as it seems. The sachet water might be one of the most purchased items in the country, but producers and suppliers of the commodity are not exactly benefiting from this huge market on a grand scale. This is due to the logarithmic hike in the cost of production, making it a not so cheaply produced commodity which is cheaply sold (because, the essence and charm of the sachet water is its affordability). Another challenge for the industry is the excruciatingly tedious and costly shop to shop distribution method of the commodity as is presently practiced all over the country. This burns fuel, clogs roads, takes a lot of time with fewer achievement in daily sales/profit, and of course it incurs extra losses as the present flimsy packaging can get destroyed on the way during this roaming truck distribution pattern (if it hasn’t already been torn at the manufacturing plant). Meanwhile, the rest of the country has to put up with the tonnes of plastic waste and consequent pollution from the plastic (that is polythene) packaging of the sachet water (among other undesirables). So many problems, and the industry still has to survive for the large market that depends on it.

The bulk costs within the industry: Energy, Sourcing Production/Raw Materials, Taxes/Government Policies, Product Sale and Distribution to Retail Market etc..

Our business concept sustains this vital industry, employing every cost saving and environmentally friendly technology/strategy feasible, simultaneously innovating an absolute SOLUTION to Affordable, Safe, Clean Drinking Water For All.

We plan to do this by first restructuring the sachet water size itself from 60 to 30 Centilitres still retaining the current sale value of 10 Naira per sachet.

Current water volume per sachet and size per bag (each bag containing 20 sachets)
PRODUCING 30CL WATER SACHETS (RIGHT) AS TO THE CURRENT 60CL WATER SACHETS (LEFT)

Then we replace the current polythene bag used for packaging for a smart biodegradable and reusable alternative, as well as substitute the use of trucks and buses for the distribution of sachet water for a more clean, efficient and cost effective box trailer which serves as a mobile depot thus restructuring the distribution from the current home delivery system to a mobile depot proximity delivery system.

Current mode of bagging and packing sachet water
SUBSTITUTING PLASTIC PACKAGING (LEFT) FOR BIODEGRADABLE-REUSABLE ALTERNATIVES (RIGHT: BURLAP/JUTE, SILK, etc.)
Current mode of sachet water haulage and distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa
REPLACING HAULAGE TRUCKS (LEFT) WITH BOX TRAILERS (RIGHT)

This solution implies 20% increase in revenue to the sachet water producers per unit sale at the same production cost and raw material resource, 20% savings on the overall cost of production due to the industrial recycling of packaging bags (that is the crate system) and 15% overall savings on the cost of distribution due to significant reduction in cost of energy and vehicle maintenance per unit sale because of the newly adopted box trailers (durable and built for service) which do not run on gasoline and replaces the door to door delivery routine for a mobile depot delivery system based on proximity to market. By adopting the Crate Strategy, this system promises the sachet water industry a daily net savings of over 25% on the gross cost of running, production, packaging and distribution of their primary product (The Sachet Water).

The Africa Prize is our optimum opportunity to establish our business from a position of strength, resource and the full attention of the sachet water industry in sub-Saharan Africa. In other words, the Africa Prize fulfills our preferred route to market criteria and further equips us as a sustainable business as well as prep market readiness on our behalf especially within the investment and venture capitalist community (even to our target market: the sachet water industry).

By:

Nguh Mercy & Elemi David

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