In Kikuyuland they call it Mukinduri, in Tugen they call it ortuet, in Taita it is mkigara and in Ukambani it goes by the name muthulu. Croton is a tree that grows in most parts of the country but the most interesting thing is that majority of us don’t know it is actually an untapped goldmine. There are many different ways in which this tree can be converted into profit – and if you are ready to learn, this article will give you a few practical examples.
There is ready market for croton nuts in the country coming from companies that produce organic diesel, leather, soaps and organic fertilizer. All you need to do is link up with such establishments and be supplying them with nuts which you can either collect in your farm, neighbouring farms or even in the forest.
One company that purchases mukinduri nuts is Eco Fuels Kenya (also known as EFK Group). They are based in Naromoru area but they have collection points for seeds across the country. A kilo of seeds goes for Ksh10.
They mainly press the nuts to produce diesel fuel which is sold for Ksh70 per litre and is used to power generators and other low RPM engines. The remaining husks are used to make organic fertilizer which is sold to organic farmers whose number has been increasing locally over the last 10 years.
If you do it solo, you can collect about 20 Kilograms of seeds per hour which is equivalent to about Ksh200 per hour. This is a decent amount given the fact that it is above the country’s average wage rate.
Moreover, you can always hire locals to help you collect more seeds at a commission. Basically, the more you collect, the more you can earn.
You don’t need any capital to start this – provided you are passionate about trees and being outdoors, you’re good to go.
Apart from collecting and selling nuts you can take your hustle a step further and start a tree nursery. To do this, you will only need to select the best seeds from your collection and nurture them. Once they germinate and are ready for transplanting you can sell them locally to other farmers. The trees are reputed for their windbreaking abilities.
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is also constantly on the lookout for croton farmers. Nowadays, because of rapid forest degradation, the authorities are replacing forest plantations with croton trees because they are both indigenous and beneficial to the environment.
A single seedling can fetch anything between Ksh20 and Ksh30. Keep in mind that croton requires minimal care to thrive.
Once you get your croton farm up and running, don’t stop there. Explore other trees like jathropa, eucalyptus, griveria and so forth. Each of these trees is an entire industry by itself and you can never go wrong by tapping into their potential.
In a nutshell, although this may sound like a humble opportunity, there are numerous opportunities when it comes to scaling up. So keep dreaming, keep trying, keep going. All the best.