Jobless youth turns cassava root into a Sh500,000 business venture

Alex Otieno, who had stayed for five years without a job now earns Sh480,000 every year after finding the magic in cassava root which he has been adding value to and making nutritional porridge, crisps and snacks. “I had no idea that the cassava root I always perceived as food for people living in abject poverty could be used for making affordable crisps, doughnuts, chips ,snacks, nutritional porridge and even ugali”, said Mr Ombuto. Since he introduced the idea to Kisumu residents, commercialisation of cassava has been tremendously gaining popularity and many entrepreneurs and farmers are embracing the root and its products.

The trend has picked up around the upmarket Kilimani in Kisumu town where the business is booming due to the high demand from Asians and Indians living in the region.

“Indians love homemade cassava crisps and doughnuts so much that they often flock my business premises in the evening to take some home”, said the 42 year-old entrepreneur and a resident of Kilimani estate.

His business targets schools, local hotels, offices, supermarkets and small retail shops.

“More often, industrial buyers are attracted by my homemade-level value addition that simply involves cleaning, chipping and drying which greatly reduces their production costs at their plants”, he said.

From his modest savings of sh3,000, Mr Ombuto and his wife Florence Ombuto are now running a business with an annual turnover of Sh480, 000. They have also employed six workers whom they pay Sh250.

The father of six now versify his business by of land to plant cassavas reduce costs. He plans to expand his export his products in the potential growth needs of many customers.

The price of his home-crisps ranges between Sh100 and Sh300, depending quantity and size of the. However, for his clients supermarkets and hotels, purchased in bulk at a cost depending on quantity. Given the location of the couple enjoys monopoly.