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FEATURE | MARCH 2016

Global Markets Feature

Turning waste into taste NASAR Rashid has built a successful business in Peterhead which is creating local wealth and helping feed thousands who might starve - and all using materials which no one else wants. He has a strong international background in trading commodities and spent many years sourcing, buying and selling goods across continents and has travelled widely across Asia and Africa. The idea for Mapco developed after he was shocked by the hunger he witnessed while in Aba, Nigeria, and investigated what people were eating to survive.

In first year of trading

"It turned out to be the things that we throw away," he said. "By western standards, unappetising-sounding fare such as fish heads.

£1.6m

"We only want the fillets but the stuff that doesn’t look great is still food, it still has all the nutrients.” He spotted the opportunity but securing the capital to launch the business proved hard. Eventually, with time running out, a personal letter to then HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan enabled him to secure the bank loan he required which, along with equity from family and friends, activated a significant grant.

of raw material

of sales

Although he had go to Canada to find a manufacturer willing to build the dehydration machine he had designed - which is a complex wind tunnel - the business got off to a great start. In 2011, its first year of trading, it had sales of £1.6million. The following year, it was processing 90 tonnes of raw material and was struggling to cope with demand when a ferocious storm destroyed his harbourside factory. Undaunted he started again from scratch and the £4million replacement factory opened in 2014 and is back in full production with 22 employees and, with fish landings at Peterhead having increased, it has surpassed the levels achieved before the building was destroyed. "Our containers are shipped direct from Peterhead harbour to Africa, Asia and Europe," said Mr Rashid.

“Fish heads are both a local delicacy and a way to survive in Africa”

"The demand for quality dehydrated fish heads in Africa is greater than the supply available. 

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Profile for AGCC

March Business Bulletin  

In the March Business Bulletin we focus on global markets. The Business Bulletin is Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce's monthly magazi...

March Business Bulletin  

In the March Business Bulletin we focus on global markets. The Business Bulletin is Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce's monthly magazi...