In Kaduna, kilishi, a Hausa local meat delicacy provides employment and entertainment for different classes of people
By Femi Olanrewaju
Gidan Kilishi located at S5, Jos Road, Kaduna is a very popular place. Its popularity is because of the kilishi, a local Hausa meat delicacy.
Kilishi is enjoyed by the low and mighty in Kaduna State. It can be taken as a snack or used in drinking pap, soaked garri or by patrons of drinking joints as appetiser. The meat is soaked in seasonings, which leaves a lasting taste in the mouth. Apart from the local consumption, people come from eastern and western parts of the country to trade in it. It is also said that some people export kilishi abroad. Kilishi is patronised because its inexpensive. With as little as N50, one can buy a piece.
Kilishi has become a family business in Gidan Kilishi (literally meaning: dry meat house). Almost all male children in this family know no other trade than kilishi. Danlami Abdullahhi, a member of the family told this magazine: “We have six masters, a number of apprentices and workers here. All the masters are members of the same family, and we inherited the business from our late father, Alhaji Abdul, Ministan-kilishi.” Alhaji Abdul was called ministan kilishi (minister of dried meat) by his admirers when he was alive because of the unique way he prepared the meat.
Danlami, who is in his early 40s holds an HND in purchasing and supply from the Kaduna Polytechnic. A father of six, Danlami told Newsworld that he opted for the trade despite his academic qualification because it gives him more money than a white collar job. He said he earns between N2, 000 to N3, 000 per day which he may not earn doing a white collar job. During weekends, the profit may be higher than that and most especially when new visitors who have learnt about kilishi visit Kaduna. He said he paid for his education and got married from the business.
Besides, he said the trade gives him comfort and freedom, and has assisted the government to create employment opportunities for the unemployed.
Apart from Jos Road, other areas kilishi can be found in Kaduna State are Angwar Sarki, Musulumi and Range Road. Danlami however, maintained that their own kilishi is the best and unique because the trade started in the family long ago.
It requires about N20, 000 to start kilishi business. The items required, according to Danlami include: an oven, show-glass, tables, benches, a raft of guineacorn stalks (karan-gado), raw meat, seasoning such as pepper, seasoning cubes, onion, masaro, kanufari and the likes. He added that a prospective kilishi trader must have the necessary skills.
Kilishi is preserved through the use of solar energy. The sliced meat is spread on the karan-gado. The meat is mixed with ground groundnut, salt and water to form paste. The meat is spread in the sun to dry. It is roasted in an oven for about 20 to 30 minutes before being spread again under the sun before being displayed in a show-glass where it can stay for over three months without getting spoilt.
Apart from finance, another likely problem, according to Danlami is heavy downpour during the rainy season because there may be no solar energy to dry the meat. In this case, the meat could be dried inside with electric fan. But the epileptic power supply from Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, presents another hinderence, forcing the traders to resort to the use of generator which costs much to fuel.
Hygiene is very important in kilishi business. Danlami disclosed that as registered members of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Hygiene Association under the local government council, they obey all regulations regarding cleanliness. He said they use disinfectants to clean their shops every morning before work and every evening after work. Besides, those agencies also pay unscheduled periodic visits to monitor their operations and advise on how to maintain good sanitary conditions.
Danlami called on the government at all levels to give soft loans under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, PAP, to the operators to produce kilish in large quantity for export. This will serve as a source of foreign exchange, increase the earnings of those in the industry and create employment opportunities for teeming unemployed youths.
Even though kilishi production and sale has become a family business for the residents of S5, Jos Road, Kaduna, Danlami is not yet sure whether any of his six children would embrace the trade. Since it gives good health and can stay longer after preparation compared to suya, Danlami enjoined the lovers of kilishi to continue with its consumption while those who have not tasted it before should give it a trial.