Category Archives: Blog

Agripreneur Blog

High school leaver striking gold with earthworm farming

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As the cost of education continues to rise, many children from poor families in Kenya find it difficult to advance to the higher levels of education due to a lack of school fees.

In fact, the increasing education costs are pushing the global goal of “Education for All” (EFA) beyond the reach of more and more children from less advantaged households, leading to a steady increase in the number of dropouts. 

This is the situation in which George Muturi found himself in 2013 after completing his secondary education and found that he could not proceed to higher levels due to lack of fees.

However, this would not discourage the young man from pursuing other means of becoming successful in life. Poverty seemed to have locked his way to pursuing his education but not his mind to reason.

He, therefore, decided to venture in vermiculture (rearing of earthworms), an idea sold to him in 2015, two years after hustling in poultry farming, by an officer at International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) when he went to buy black soldier eggs to hatch, raise them to larvae stage and feed his chicken. 

Within a portion of family land in Lari, Kiambu County, he would make a structure worth Sh500 before buying some starter worms at Sh2,500 from a fellow farmer.

“This is how cheap I discovered starting off in vermiculture would cost me and I wasted no time,” said Muturi adding that the worms just feed on household or farm wastes which they convert into affordable organic fertiliser called vermicompost that he sells to other farmers for crop production.

“Together with vermiliquid, an organic foliar, the two products are liked by farmers especially those who run kitchen gardens as the dark, rich, earthly smelling fertilizer and foliar amends soils given they are full of both primary and micronutrients readily available to plants,” said the vermiculturist.

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Indeed, worm casting also improves the physical property of the soil by improving the tilt, ferocity and moisture-holding capacity of the soil according to Dr Freddie Acosta, a Senior Lecturer of Technology and Innovation Management at Strathmore Business School.

Besides, adding vermicompost and vermiliquid to the soil reduces insect pests and plant diseases in a certain field and greenhouse crops including corn, wheat, pea, cucumber, and tomato.

Now, one kilogram of earthworms (approx. 1500 worms) fed very well and given the right moisture and protection from predators at the beginning of January, can multiply and increase their number to approximately 4000 kilograms at the end of December.

After a year of rearing, a farmer can produce up to three tonnes of organic fertiliser every day.

For Muturi, he harvests 100-150 kilos of vermicompost and 80-100 litres of vermiliquid a month. He sells a kilo of vermicompost at Sh70 and a litre of vermiliquid at Sh150 resulting to Sh25,500 a month.

He also sells the 10 kilos of the worms to other farmers every month at Sh2,000 making Sh20,000 a month.

Besides red worms, he has also started domesticating African Nightcrawlers which are also excellent vermicomposting and fishing worms.

He has since started his own startup, Agri-Tech Organic Farm through which he is designing a simple three-in-one vermiculture system for kitchen gardeners using three buckets that enable the farmers to rear the worms and collect vermicompost and vermiliquid in separate buckets.

Only three buckets of twenty litres capacity with a wider top and narrow bottom, rabbit manure and five kilos of starter-worms worth Sh2,500 is a good point to start from.

The buckets are inserted into each other in such a way that they do not touch each other at the bottom.

 

21The topmost bucket in which the worms, rabbit manure and fresh organic wastes such as fruit and vegetable remains are placed is covered at the top and some holes made on the upper sides for letting in the fresh air.

The worms, rabbit manure and fresh organic wastes are sandwiched with some dry matter materials such as grass on top and bottom. Some holes of considerable sizes are also made at the bottom of this top bucket to allow vermicompost and vermiliquid pass through to the second bucket.

“Rabbit manure is preferable to any type of manure because it speeds up the worms’ reproduction leading to faster decomposition of the wastes for more compost manure and vermiculture liquid,” said Muturi.

The middle or second bucket is where the vermicompost is collected depending on the activity of the worms on the organic wastes and the manure. The bucket too has some smaller holes than the upper one allows vermiliquid from the worms in the top bucket to pass through to the lats or bottom bucket.

The last bucket which is raised some few inches from the ground using some bricks, stones or wood has a tap at the bottom through which vermiliquid is tapped.

Vermicompost accumulated in the second bucket is used as manure for crops while vermiliquid collected in the bottom bucket acts as organic foliar and it is best for crops such as fruits and vegetables as started in the introduction.

Muturi installs the system for other farmers at Sh4,500 for the 20-litre buckets and Sh6,000 for the 50-litre bin.


Agripreneur Blog

How varsity undergraduate fighting ‘corona blues’ with rabbit farming

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In normal times, Emmanuel Eddionyi an undergraduate student from Kenyatta University could now be in school for his second last semester studies.

However, following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has led to the closure of all learning institutions in the country several months ago, the Bachelor of Education Special Education (Sp. ED) student, like the rest, has been forced to stay away from school.

“By now I could be ending my classwork then wait for teaching practice or practical lessons later in the year but due to the pandemic even our graduation, I guess, will have to wait as everything is now in limbo,” said Eddionyi.

For many students like him, this situation can be stressful and full of boredom feeling cut off from the campus life- with its vital resources and support networks which has now come to a halt something which can bring what many call ‘corona blues’.

In fact, latest studies have shown that rates of anxiety, depression, and stress in college students have risen significantly over the past months with many students reporting increased stress blamed on COVID-19.

For Eddionyi, his rabbit venture he started two years ago within his parents’ land in Stella, Migori County is relieving him the boredom brought about by the uncertainty of the current situation.

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“To me, just tending to these small animals offer me an aesthetic feeling and a reprieve other than the cash I am able to earn from selling them for white meat lovers and other farmers. After all, I no longer depend on my parents for upkeep,” he said. 

When he started this venture in 2018 after a thorough online research, his aim was to turn what used to be his childhood hobby into a lucrative venture and have at least an enterprise he could call his own.

His capital came from sales of scrap metals that he collected from old machine parts that belonged to his mother, of course on the mother’s permission. 

These gave him Sh12,000 which he used to buy some four breeds from an established farmer from Kasarani, Nairobi. He bought one which was already pregnant at Sh3,000 and the rest at Sh2,500 each.

The breeds included a New Zealand white, a Flemish giant, a Canadian giant and a California white. The rest of the money were spent on constructing a structure and buying some feeds.

“I buy a 50kg of rabbit pellets which the rabbits feed on for a duration of three weeks to one month. This is costly as I spend Sh2,500 on the bag forcing me to supplement with some potato vines I grow and other locally sourced feeds to help me manage production costs,” said Eddionyi.

He says the rabbits take 4-6 moths to mature. 

At this stage, one rabbit can weigh 1.5-2.5 kilos live weight and this he sells at Sh800-1,000 depending on the breed. 

He also sells six months old winners to other farmers for breeding purposes at Sh400-800, also depending on the breed.

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Eddionyi who also grows some cowpeas for vegetable which reach markets stage in few weeks and sell to traders from Awendo and Uriri Markets says his daily duties always begin early in the morning at around six and ends late in the evening by eight after ensuring that all his rabbits are fed and safe.

“It is very dangerous to idle this time because, as students, we do not have much school work to do at home and one can easily get depressed with the uncertainty of coronavirus crisis.”

To be able to manage his animals well, he says he controls their breeding rate especially every time he is about to go back to school so that they do not overwhelm his mother who helps him in looking after them as she also has other duties to take care of.

Currently he has over 70 rabbits a stock which has increased over the time given he has been crossbreeding the pure breeds with the local ones resulting to a more resilient and more productive breeds.

His vision in the near future when he finally finishes his studies is to transform the venture into a big farm of rabbits and in this, together with other farmers, they are coming up with an association of all rabbit farmers in Kenya through which they will be able to share information and sell their animals.


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29-year-old catering graduate creates own job through sugarcane juice making

After his graduation from Nairobi Aviation Collage, Dominic Jisemba tried looking for a job on his line of career but failed to secure one.

He later chanced to be employed by a security firm which paid him Sh41,000 for a job he was posted out of the country, to be specific, in Qatar.

However, given he did not have an alternative, he took up the job just for income though his heart was not fully dedicated.

After reports about some ills some employers from Middle East countries met on their employees, Jisemba’s family got concerned about him and advised him to come back home.

Jobless again, a friend of his advised him to try his hand in sugarcane juice making, that was way back in 2017.

“I, therefore, decided to invest Sh87,000 part of my savings to buy a machine at Sh80,000, Sh3,000 for raw material; the sugarcane, some jinja at Sh800, lemon at Sh500 and juice serving plastic cups at Sh500,” said Jisemba.

At the start, he did not have an official operation point or location, so he kept moving from place to place looking for where he could make good sales.

When he finally found a place to settle at Umoja estate, he decided to employ some four workers to help him with cleaning the sugarcane and serving customers.

“I started by paying each of them Sh500 a day and as the business picked up, I doubled their salary to Sh1,000 a day,” he said.

Today, the young entrepreneur has over five staff at his juice parlour whom they work together as a team.

From 70 pieces of sugarcane which he buys at Sh20-30 each, Jisemba produces 700 glasses of juice. He sells a 200ml glass of juice at Sh50 while a 500ml glass cost Sh100.

From this, he says, he can make up to Sh10,000 net profit a day after sorting out his employees and other expenses.

“This is a venture I was not sure about from the beginning but my leap of faith has so far yielded fruits and I can now pay my bills and cater for my other bills not to talk of great savings and doing what I love in a more secure environment; home,” said Jisemba.

To be able to meet his daily target, he ensures he wakes up early, grinds the sugarcane and extract the nutritious juice for his ever-coming customers.

According to Joaquim Mauricio Duarte, a scientist, on the health benefits of sugar, a natural compound found in sugarcane juice can reduce the growth of human cancer cells hence making it one of the most sought-after fresh juice today.

Jisemba’s customers mainly come from those who call in daily and referrals by usual customers. He also targets social gatherings, a rich customer trap, now affected due to COVID 19 pandemic.

“Businesses do experience challenges and this is our time of facing such a big test which I hope will pass behind us very soon,” said the Umoja based entrepreneur.

Other than the sugarcane juice business, Jisemba also markets grill pans and duster mops for supplementary income.

He now sees a future of improved business as he plans to buy more machines, improve production and employ more other people.

 


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Small businesses you can start within Nairobi’s industrial area

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Nairobi city has one main industrial area located to the south-east of the central business district. However, there are also other industrial areas located in Kahawa, Kasarani, Ruaraka and Dandora not to mention those in the neighbouring places such as Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu.

Even though these areas majorly have manufacturing and service industries that employ many people, not everyone ends up working in these industries as there are scarce opportunities that are also very competitive.

If you have ever wanted to work in the industrial areas but unsuccessful to secure employment or you just want to start something of your own which will draw you some income on a daily basis, then you can consider the following ideas:

Kibandaski restaurant

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A majority of individuals working in industrial areas are casual labourers paid between Sh15,000 and Sh35,000 a month meaning their earnings per day ranges from Sh500-1,000 while some get as low as Sh300 a day depending on the job.

With this small amount of money and the nature of work which is always heavy-duty, these people do not have time for classy foods but just a decent and well-prepared meal is okay.

Indeed, they will need to eat well and save for other needs and this is where your local hotel popularly known by many Nairobian residents as kibandaski will be of mutual benefit. 

With kibandaski, you will not need to necessarily rent some room but just a small temporary shade or structure which can cost you Sh2,000-5,000 to put up and which will keep your food safe, offer you some space to cook and serve your customers.

You will also need to part with Sh1,500 as a license fee for the local authorities, some Sh10,000 for supplies such as charcoal, grocery, cooking oil, rice, sugar and flour among others just for a start assuming you have the equipment.

You can therefore make breakfast and lunch meals with foods such as porridge/tea + mandazi/chapati for breakfast and ugali + veges/fried eggs/beans/omena(dagaa)/fish/beef, chapati + dengu/beans/beef, githeri and rice + beans for lunch.

For the breakfast meal, your prices can be Sh5 for mandazi, Sh10 for black tea and Sh20 for white tea, Sh10 chapati while for lunch meals your prices can range fromSh50-100 depending on the food ordered. 

This is generally affordable for a wide range of people working in the industrial areas something which has made kibandaski food a darling for many city dwellers who are faced with tough economic times.

Hawking fruits
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Moving a variety of fruits in the industrial area is also another viable business whereby you only need a cart (mkokoteni) which you can hire at Sh100 a day and Sh500 to buy some fruits such as oranges which you can sell Sh5 or Sh10 each, watermelon, pawpaw and pineapple which you can cut in sizes and sell at Sh10 or Sh20 a piece.

In fact, there is a crop of women in town who have recently mastered the art of doing this business and they are making a kill. Very early in the morning, you will see them with buckets or troughs getting to Nairobi’s Marikiti Market to buy these fruits.

For watermelon, pawpaw and pineapple they buy already cut pieces at Sh10 each. Depending on the size of the transparent or clear buckets, they carry 30-50 pieces. Others with troughs opt for bananas, avocadoes and oranges.

They then start moving the fruits in jua kali areas, garages and construction sites selling a piece at Sh20 each for watermelon, pawpaw and pineapple and by noon they shall have made doubled their buying price.

Kiosk
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If you cannot move with fruits, then a small booth of M-Pesa where you can also sell some small items such as credit cards, snarks, bottled drinking water, soft drinks such as soda and juices can really be a good business in these areas. You can also sell some fruits especially bananas.

You do not need a permanent structure, just a temporary one is enough as you hustle for a place to store your items at night. 

Some companies which have bigger operation space with many people working therein, also do offer some space within their premises for people who approach them with such a business idea.

Now you know, you can move and make your decisions.



Agripreneur Blog

Making Sh750,000 from an acre of Cape gooseberry in 12-14 weeks

Making Sh750,000 from an acre of Cape gooseberry in 12-14 weeks

Leave alone the wild gooseberries that are self-propagating commonly found in farms after harvesting maize, farmers in Kenya can now access a high yielding variety of the fruit which is well known as the Cape gooseberry.

The new variety of Cape gooseberry, Netherlands Gold, produces bigger fruits in size. It also turns golden in colour when ripe and it is sweet, unlike the wild fruits which are somehow bitter.

In addition, Netherlands Gold has a firm, waxy, gold skin giving it longer shelf life.

The wonder fruit (scientifically known as Physalis peruviana) which was traditionally left as food for the birds and hunters in forests has now been improved and is now a money miter for keen agro-entrepreneurs who would like to venture into a unique type of fruit production.

The fruit’s wide applications in the food industry and its health benefits makes it a darling among the rising health-conscious consumers in the country.

According to researchers, Cape gooseberries are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C and rich in protein and phosphorus making it anti-inflammatory, and which could help in the management of cancer, leukaemia, diabetes and hepatitis among other lifestyle diseases.

In addition, the leaves of the gooseberry are utilized as medicinal teas. More value-added products such as gooseberry crumb cake, gooseberry cake, juice, jam and wine are other sources of income for the farmer.

Luckily for farmers, the fruit is the next big thing after it was selected by the government among the 100 crops for commercialization in the Big 4 Agenda.

In the Kenyan local dialects, the fruit is called differently, the Luo know it as Nyamtonglo, the Nandi people call it Mboniik,  the Kisii call it Chinsobosobo, Kikusyus call it Nathi, the Kipsigis refer to it as Chelolo while the Kamba call it Ngondu.

High yielding

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The new variety-Netherlands Gold which matures in 12-14 weeks has a yielding capability of 5000-8000 kilos per acre and the seeds are planted in the nursery before transplanting seedbeds.

For a quarter of an acre, you can plant 10 grams of seeds worth Sh1,900, a half an acre takes 10 kilos of seeds going at Sh2,800 while an acre needs 40 grams of seeds which can be bought at Sh4,800.

The average yield observed in Kenya is 5 to 8 tonnes per acre but under optimal management, this crop can yield up to 10 tonnes per acre.

Commercial potential

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You can start farming the fruits, and park them for the market, or make juice or even jam.

A single plant can yield an average of 200 fruits which is about five grams per plant. This equals 1000g or 1kg fruits per season translating to 2kg per plant per year given the crop has two flowering seasons a year.

Since an acre can accommodate 2500 plants, this will give 25000×1= 2500kg of fruits which if sold at Sh300 per kilo will give Sh750,000 per acre in one season of about 12-14 weeks.

This means that you can double your earnings if you go the possible two seasons a year.



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The potential of e-commerce to present entrepreneurs in Kenya

The potential of e-commerce to present entrepreneurs in Kenya

With the worldwide breakout of the COVID 19 virus posing serious negative impacts to economies of various countries globally, there is a need for the present-day entrepreneurs in Kenya to consider smart ways of doing business and grow their income even as we wait for the unforeseeable future of the deadly disease.

One of these smart ways is going online in terms of marketing and selling of their goods and services which of course will adhere to the social distancing and cashless transfers among other recommendations by the government to limit the spread of the virus.

Though it has its various challenges just like any other means of doing business in the country, e-commerce is presenting a bright future for those who are keen to build their brands and grow their revenues.

According to a recent report by financial analysts at Citibank, it was estimated that Kenya’s e-commerce market could be worth Sh70 billion in the near term, Sh120 billion in the medium term and Sh500 billion in the long-term. 

In addition, today there are various planforms ready to sponsor new entrants in the online business. One such is Gray Matters Capital (GMS), a calibrator accelerator program that focuses on funding various enterprises to enable them to actualize and bring e-commerce front to market.

In the past, newcomers into the market had no such platforms and had a higher overhead cost. A high consideration was given to monthly payments such as rental space, electricity, water, and security. 

For startups, there was less room for error when it comes to their initial financial investment because funding could dry up very quickly if one was not careful. 

Other than monthly expenses, location also plays a vital role in the success or demise of the business.  Picking a poor location could hurt a business no matter how your products and pricing were. 

At your location, you wouldn’t have control over what happens around your store. A competitor could open next door and crush your business or the up-keep and safety of the area would deteriorate keeping customers away from your shop.

In Kenya, according to a recent e-commerce report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, it was estimated that the number of online shoppers had doubled to 2.61 million from 2014 to 2017. 

With the country having more than 47.6 million active mobile money accounts, accessed through more than 200,000 agents, there has been the ease in making payment indicating online shopping is not slowing down anytime soon.

Trade has been revolutionized by the online presence and newcomers have managed to avoid the constraints of having a physical store but online fronts also bear challenges. 

To begin with, creating an online presence such as a website, one will need to find the right service provider and with it comes a cost. 

A decent website build may cost between Sh30,000 to more than Sh100,000, its maintenance would significantly cost more. 

The skills required to create digital content, grow your audience and convert them into customers may require the appointment of a digital marketer hence stretching your marketing budget if any. 

One will also be required to provide a variety of ways to make payments because customers want a choice.

A recent report by KPMG of seven Sub-Saharan countries including Kenya indicates that e-commerce makes up one to three per cent of GDP, and is predicted to make up only 10 per cent of total retail sales in key markets by 2025. 

This gap between online presence and customer, conversion highlights the need to consolidate the seller’s in-store and online platform to create a complete customer experience and generate more revenue.

One of the reasons why online shopping is still lagging behind is because a majority of customers do not trust online shopping sites, this is according to a recent GeoPoll survey conducted in five African countries; Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana on online shopping. 

In Kenya, trust was the highest reason at 33 per cent followed by shipping costs at 19 per cent and payment methods not being supported at 11 per cent.

It follows therefore that, those business entrepreneurs who would consider e-commerce stand a high chance of benefiting now and going into the future.



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Setting a mobile restaurant business in Kenya

Setting a mobile restaurant business in Kenya

Since its debut in 2008 in the US when the country’s labour market lost over 8.4 million jobs, the mobile restaurant business has continued gaining momentum the world over as a cheap way of running an eatery without necessarily having to cater for the high physical location costs.

The business is also known as the mobile food truck business is now gaining ground in Kenya especially in Nairobi where residents are increasingly preferring food deliveries closer to their work stations or homes.

Assuming the requirements to start this business are almost the same as any other restaurant with a specific location such as Sh120,000 equipment costs and Sh50,000 for licenses (Single business permit, food and hygiene license and food handler’s certificate), the mobile aspect makes it a bit different.

Here, one will need a truck, a large vehicle with a kitchen to make and serve food. The truck should therefore be designed in a way it makes operations easy and just before you consider this lucrative business, here are some factors to consider.

 

Setup costs

This includes one-time costs and costs that can vary by location because, for instance, costs for setting a mobile eatery at the CBD will certainly vary from any other place in Nairobi.

But, focusing on truck design first which is a one-time thing, you can start simple in a small bicycle or motorcycle with an extended cart.

This, according to Marf Limited, a company that designs and fabricates mobile restaurant trucks, comes with an approximate budget of Sh200,000 cost of the truck itself with installed solar power for a small refrigerator, fitted fryer and grill and a gas cooker.

However, this might not be enough as the image which is key should be achieved by ensuring top-notch hygiene by ensuring food preparation surfaces are made of stainless steel.

Nevertheless, as the business picks, one may see the need for expanding into larger trucks with bigger space to accommodate the increasing number of customers.

This can mean moving to a food truck, food trailer and food cart which comes with a budget of between Sh200k and Sh1.5M fabrication costs.

You can also opt for a locally sourced second-hand truck or pick-up due to ease of spares access for fabrication which can cost less depending on your menu and the size of the truck or pick-up for the kitchen space and equipment.

Remember, importing a small truck can cost up to Sh1.8M and you still have to part with clearance costs. Yes, importation is always the bottleneck as the customs is not always a walk-in-walk-out.

Future of mobile restaurant business

According to the 2016 Kenya Food Market Report (Restaurant in Kenya), the restaurant business in Kenya has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years and the mobile food truck business is no exception.

Indeed, investors in the food industry are slowly setting up mobile kitchens using food trucks to reach more customers.

Munchies, a product of Mobile Foods of Kenya Ltd, is one such mobile food restaurants in Nairobi which started in 2017 and kicked off operations in January 2018.

Today, the restaurant has employed seven young people who entirely run the business as well as providing skills training.

World over, the industry continues to grow. For instance, it is expected to close in on $1 billion dollars in annual revenues within the United States alone.



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Thriving mandazi business that needs only Sh1,000 to start

There are many small businesses that one can start using a small capital in Kenya especially in Nairobi and make it a booming venture with time.

One of them is cooking and selling mandazi either along the busy streets of the city, at bus stations or at a strategic location in residential areas.

Unless you want to set up a fairly big business, a small mandazi business do not need a license from the city council, instead, with just Sh1,000 capital you can make up to Sh1,500 a day and expand with time.

However, just before letting all systems go, you need one more thing- studying your prospective customer’s way of life and purchasing power.

On normal weekdays, Nairobians like waking up early to prepare for work and escape traffic jams which see them spend much on fare hence they will be taking their breakfast early or passing by at your cooking point to buy.

In this, you need to wake up earlier than them by around 4:00 am or at latest 5:00 am to begin operations and be able to catch with them.

Most mandazi sold in Nairobi goes for Sh5 or at most Sh10 and studying your customers’ purchasing power will help you know the quantity and quality of the product you need to make for fair pricing.

When all these is done, you may start just by using some of your kitchen utensils and equipment which you can set in an open space.

Remember to start small on the first day if it is the first time or a new location. This will give you time to get used to the customers.

With the Sh1,000 capital, you need baking flour, salt, sugar and cooking oil.

For a start, a 2kg of wheat flour that goes for about Sh130, 0.5kg cooking fat of about Sh110 and other small ingredients such as sugar, baking powder and salt which can cost at most Sh100 are necessary.

A packet of 2kg wheat flour can produce over 50 mandazi depending on the size and sell at between Sh5 and Sh10 each. This will earn you Sh250-500 just from one packet or Sh1,250-2,500 from five packets.

It is also important to be thoughtful. Because it is always take-away foodstuff, you may need to arm yourself with some packaging materials such as the used flour packets which sometimes are discarded to use as wrap up materials.

You can also identify some places nearby such as construction and juakali sites where you can sell your mandazi and ensure the whole stock is sold so that you begin with fresh ones the following day.

Nairobians like fresh but cheap food, remember.

Do not stick there, move to 15-20 packets a day depending on the demand and with time you can start serving tea before expanding to cooking some chapatis served with beans or green grams (dengu).

Yes, this is how Mary Wanjiku,38, started her Silger Enterprises, a cake bakery business in Nakuru Town.

After completing her course in food and catering in 2008 but failed to get a job, her mother gave her some Sh1,000 while a friend helped with a modern energy saver jiko.

After buying a pan and a frying spoon she started making mandazi and hawking.

Soon the business became overcrowded and much competition threatened her existence. This is the time she shifted to baking cakes something which is more viable in the area and more earning.

Today, she has employed over 10 youth who help her in her bakery enterprise. “It is good to start from somewhere and be creative along or else you can find yourself out of business in a short while,” advises Wanjiku.



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Siaya Youth Cashing on The Increasing Demand for Fingerlings to Make a Kill from their Hatchery

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Just like any other business, agribusiness also requires a proper calculation of opportunities and profits associated with any commercial farming venture.

In demands a good understanding of market demand, a plan and a budget, record keeping, cash flow and credit management and measuring the performance of the business from time to time among others.

This is what many young people entering into market-oriented farming do not seem to understand. Most of them, upon interacting with a captivating story in the media, jump into farming with high expectation not knowing the high risks associated with agribusiness and how to manage them.

 

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However, for these two brothers, Collins Adika ,35, and Charles Otieno ,34, who are fish farmers in Siaya County, their first move in the venture was to understand what would give them an advantage over their peers. 

The duo who are currently running a 70,000-capacity fish hatchery at Rabango area in the county are cashing in the increasing number of high yielding cage fishing technology in Lake Victoria to provide ready fingerlings to farmers and grow their income.

“The advantage we have is the increasing uptake of cage fishing in Lake Victoria and fish ponds that different CBOs have dug in the area pushing the demand for fingerlings,” said Otieno.

A survey by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute (Kemfri) in the five riparian counties of Migori, Siaya, Kisumu, Busia and Homa Bay showed that the number of fishing cages in the country’s largest freshwater lake had jumped to about 3,696 by last year from 1,663 in 2016 — a 122 percent increase, with more such facilities being added by investors this year.

Siaya had 2,989 fishing cages by 2017, from 383 previously, a 680 percent jump. It is trailed distantly by Homa Bay with 479 fishing cages, Migori (23), Busia (120) and Kisumu (85).

The young brothers had acquired some four ponds measuring 80 by 40 metres from an agro-entrepreneur in the area who had abandoned them to look for greener pastures in the US.

They, therefore, negotiated with him after approaching the owner of the three acres of land where the ponds were constructed.

“When we came from Kampala, Uganda in May this year where our partnership in fish farming with some Ugandans had ended, we found the ponds in a bad situation due to poor management by the farmhands who were left there,” said Otieno.

The duo had to spend two months, June and July to renovate the ponds and divided the huge ponds using cage nets to realize up to eight ponds measuring 40 by 40 metres.

They then reorganized the stock of which majority was comprised of male tilapia fish which were separated from about 200 female tilapias they found and additional 1,000 other females they bought from a farmer at Salgaa at Sh200 each.

This is how in August this year the two begun their Pacho Fish Farm hatchery through which they are also producing fish feeds that they sell to farmers.

Using the Y-Y technology of which they are able to manipulate the sexes of the fish to produce many males fish than females, the duo is sure of attaining over 90 per cent male fingerlings from their fast-growing hatchery.

“With this technology, we are able to provide ready tilapia fingerlings which are about 1.5cm long to farmers in 28 days at Sh7 each,” Said Otieno.

Their main target is those farmers rearing the fish to attain the table size for the consumption of which is 6-8 days of proper feeding attain 500-600 grams for tilapia that goes for between Sh300 and Sh350 each.

Other target customers are the county government and community-based organizations which buy the fingerlings for farmers in the area who have the ponds but do not have enough money to buy the seeds.



Agripreneur Blog

Homa Bay agro-entrepreneur creates Sh200,000 monthly seedlings venture after losing job

Many at times losing a job is associated with shattered future and people always sympathise with individuals whose contracts are stopped expectedly or unexpectedly due to one reason or another.In Kenya, even before the hit of COVID-19 on our economy leading closure of various business sectors, there were massive layoffs of employees by various companies in a bid to manage their bottom lines or to reduce expenditure.

This was as a result of a reduced income or other factors such as the introduction of technology which rendered some positions redundant. 

However, for Bosco Aredha, a fruit and tree nursery seedlings raiser in Homa Bay County, job loss is never his concern. He has created his own which earns him over Sh200,000 a month. Bosco lost his contract in 2006 at a non-governmental organisation when his contract came to an end and there was no longer a space to accommodate him. Luckily, the organisation which was concerned with the integration of tree crops into the community had impacted some skills of grafting seedlings in him. He, therefore, decided to use the skills he had acquired which include fruit tree management, fruit tree propagation and disease and pest identification to create employment for himself.

On noticing that farmers from his area were travelling a long distance looking for fruit tree planting materials with best strains, he decided to set up a grafting farm to be able to feel the gap with a view creating an income.  He started with some mango and orange seedlings, bought some grafting equipment, fenced his two-acre farm after putting up a shade for the seedlings “All this work took me about Sh65,000 worth of investment. This was part of my savings while I was working with the NGO,” said Bosco. 

It was not all rosy at the beginning because with grafting, he lacked scions and he was forced to source the important material from other established farmers in the area. However, persistence and dedication to his work that he has since loved as his main source of income have seen him through.“I always get orders for these seedlings. I remember after about nine years of establishing this venture, an organisation mitigating the effects of hunger and malnutrition in Homa Bay bought 1,600 grafted fruit trees from my farm at Sh200 each earning me Sh320,000 which really encouraged me,” said Bosco.

He decided to use part of the money to expand his nursery, pay for his children’s school fees, home expenses and savings. Today, especially in peak season during rainy season as at now, the farmer says he makes Sh200,000 a month supplying purely grafted seedlings of various fruits to farmers in the lakeside county and beyond.

“During this rainy season, there is a rush by many people to at least plant some fruits. This makes my farm a bit busy hence there is a need for casual labourers whom I hire from time to time depending on the amount of work available,” said the 44-year-old farmer. Though he grafts all manner of fruit seedlings, his highly sought-after seedlings are those of mangoes of which the varieties available include ngowe, parvin, apple mango, chino and sebin vandyke.

He says farmers like the grafted seedlings because they take a shorter period to produce fruits than an ordinary one

 

 



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Youth creates thriving car wash business, beats unemployment challenge

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Every year, at least 30,000 fresh graduates enter job hunting mission yet companies are laying off employees due to what they term unfavourable conditions.
To beat unemployment, Mohammed Ali a Diploma in Business Administration graduate from Don Bosco institute is earning a whooping Sh130,000 per month from automobile cleaning.

He says the idea of automobile cleaning came to him in 2002 after working as a labourer in one of the car wash within Moyale town for two years.

“After my graduation, I searched for a white-collar job but I did not get one. So, I was employed as a labourer in a car wash within Moyale town where I worked for two years,” he said.
He invested Sh64,000 he got from working as a labourer in other car wash centres to start his own automobile cleaning which mainly focused on vehicles and carpets.

He spent Sh18,000 to buy a carwash machine, Sh21,000 on one vacuum cleaner Sh1,600 on the water which cost Sh10 a bucket of 20 litres and the rest he used other small equipment such as scrubbing brush and detergents such as soap and shampoo.

Soon the business picked up and he decides to open another branch in Taita Taveta then another in Naivasha along Maimahiyu road in 2006.

“The journey has never been easy because for this business to reach this far, I had to attend training in Spain, China and Dubai to know how car wash business can be improved,” said Ali.
Today the business has grown since he opened the businesses headquartered in Nairobi’s Fedha area in 2017 where he has introduced other services such as carpet cleaning, car interior upholstery and furniture cleaning among others.

He has since started offering all these services in all the company’s branches with increased investment of Sh10m which he used to buy high-quality modern machines and equipment such as three-phase pressure, hot water steam, buffing and vacuum cleaning machines among others.

Ali says these machines have made his life easy as he uses the same machines to offer different cleaning services.

“With this competitive market I had to incorporate both carpet and car wash business so as to cut on costs and maximize on profits,” says Ali who has founded Diamond Brite car wash and carpet cleaning centre in Nairobi.
The entrepreneur now has four branches across the country where he has created 20 youths in all the branches and hopes to open other branches soon.

Diamond Brite car wash team.

Diamond Brite car wash team.

He says he cleans approximately 1500 cars per month where the minimum price for a car is Sh200 earning him around 300,000 gross income per month.
After all, deductions which include paying his staffs, electricity and water bills, detergents among other costs, he remains with a profit of Ksh130,000 every month.

According to a September 2002 study report by International Carwash Association (ICA) on Water Use in the Professional Car Wash Industry, machines such as high-pressure water rinse machine, a high-pressure sprayer and an automated nozzle machine can be used to clean cars, carpets and furniture.

“My customers are my main marketers as they recommend Diamond Brite to potential customers and together we grow.”

Ali says he has constructed underground tanks and backup generators so that at no particular time will any of the services fail to be available.
Another fact making car wash business more profitable and fast expanding industry is the increasing number of vehicles bought in the country as over 7500 new vehicles are introduced on Kenyan roads every month.
Latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that new registration of motor vehicles increased by 12.0 per cent from 91,071 units in 2017 to 102,036 units in 2018. This shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of local car owners.

“It is obvious that almost everyone is driving nowadays and therein lies a potential business,” said Ali.

To supplement his earnings, he offers other services such as night parking and restaurant to bolster the profit margins.

He advised other youths to take up every opportunity that may come their way regardless of how learned they are.

 

 



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Why most small businesses in Kenya barely survive long enough

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) figures, only 10 per cent of SMEs are able to stay afloat after ten years of their start something which has been majorly attributed to lack of the know-how in the running of the enterprises.

Proper information on how to run businesses can avert the death of over 75 per cent of Kenyan SMEs which do not survive barely five years after their inception.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) figures, only 10 per cent of SMEs are able to stay afloat after ten years of their start something which has been majorly attributed to lack of the know-how in the running of the enterprises.
“Most of these SMEs are started with unclear focus due to lack of training or mentorship on various issues such as how to identify markets and management of finances among others leading them to immature closure,” said Victor Otieno, managing director of Viffa Consult, a Kenyan based management consultancy with of developing SMEs in Africa.

Wrong reasons for starting a business
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A good number of Kenyan entrepreneurs have wrong reasons or misplaced reasons as to why they want to start a business. Majority of them start with the primary goal of either to make a lot of money, not to answer to anyone apart from themselves not looking at the fact that this are benefits that come after a longer period of your business being successful.
The best reason one would decide to start a business would be having passion, love and strong belief in the business venture you want to get into. And you have done a proper investigation that your product will fill a market gap.
You need to have determination, patience to be able to make it in the business world. Every time you get a challenge it should give more motivation to grow.

Poor Management
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Many businesses report business failures as a result of poor management as the main reason why their businesses fail. Many new business owners do not have the technical know-how to run a successful business. This ranges from getting the best market for the product at hand, knowledge to run a business this is because a big percentage of business owners just decide to start a business with no relevant experience or having someone to coach them through.
To be able to have a long business lifespan it is advised that young or new upcoming entrepreneurs need to get basic training on how to run a business, one could either go for relevant classes or get professional consultants who will take you through the required steps to make your business successful.
Poor management is not just on the line of not having the required skills; it also encompasses a business owner neglecting his or her business. Every young business enterprise needs a lot of care, planning and control of everyday activities.

Insufficient Capital

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Having constant cash flow is very important for a business. Business owners need to ensure when they are making a projected cost of a business. Most new business owners mostly do not look at the operating costs of their business. This is because they work on the assumption that their businesses will pick up immediately and they will make big sales not thinking that their business will need some time before they make commendable sales.

The Wrong Location

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Location is an important factor to consider when setting up your business. The wrong location would mean the death of your business no matter how good you run it. Some of the factors to consider when setting up your business is who are your customer, location of your competitors, the security of the area, if your business really relies on human traffic it would be important to locate your business where you could maximum human traffic.
One important thing to note is if your business does not have constant human traffic the ideal location for your business would be at home. This will help you reduce on the rent costs.

Overexpansion
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Expansion of a business does not really translate to business success this is one thing many business owners get wrong. So many businesses go under as a result of expanding their enterprises too fast.
Having an established customer base and constant cash flow is one of the factors to consider before deciding to expand your business. You need to have careful review and research before you decide that you want to expand your enterprise. One really needs to consider if their business will continue to run smoothly before you decide to expand. It would be quite sad if you expand your business only for it to completely run down two-three months later.
Victor continues to add before one decides to take up any business venture, he or she needs to well informed and educated in the sector or get professional help so as to make sure your monetary investment does not go to waste.