Canola plants and oil. The oil has more omega 3 and 6 than olive oil.Consumption of this oil cures arthritis,coughs, stomach ulcers and reduces cholesterol in the blood. Photo file.
David Kimondo Waiganjo, one of the most successful agri-entrepreneurs from Nyeri County and the first Kenyan to extract oil from canola seeds in the country has built his first cottage industry, Kieni Canola Oil firm at Kieni in the county where he extract the oil for sale.
His interest in canola farming and extraction of oil from its seeds started back in 2007 after he visited a white man in the area who was extracting oil from the plant’s seeds and once developed interest in the plant and its products.
He then moved to contact the ministry of Agriculture, crop specialists, searched the Internet and read various books in a bid to know more about canola after criticism by the white man that most Kenyan farmers like him only rely on indigenous food crops.
“I went to buy a goat from the man and I found him extracting oil from the seeds. That became my first time to see the seeds therefore I wanted to know more about them. However, he refused answering more questions from me saying Kenyan farmers only love growing maize and beans giving no chance for other highly earning crops like canola,” said Kimondo.
“With the help from the ministry and agro-specialists I manufactured my first canola oil in 2011 and became the first Kenyan to extract such oil which gave me a lot of publications by the media.”
However, the main challenge has been lack of farmers to grow canola as most farmers in the area focuse on potato, beans, vegetables and maize production. This could lower Kimondo’s extraction of the oil due to lack of raw materials (canola seeds).
RELATED ARTICLE: Fledgling Canola market stalls on lack of seeds
He thought of growing the crop in his one-acre farm and entice other farmers into growing canola but he had no enough capital for this so he did a proposal with a budget of Sh30,000 which he would use to look for a loan.
The first bank he approached denied him the loan saying that it will be difficult to invest in a crop that too little was known about.
“The bank I approached did not approve my request even as much as I explained in my proposal how I was to go about the whole project and so I had to look for an alternative,” said Kimondo.
Luckily enough, he happened to be a member of a sacco with its headquarters in Nyeri Town called Taifa Sacco which agreed to offer him the loan that he used to buy a 90-kilogramme bag of canola seeds at Sh27,000 from the white man who was by then the only one growing the crop in the area.
“I planted some seeds on my one-acre piece of land while he extracted oil from the others but I realized I needed certification from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to be able to produce the oil in large quantity upon harvesting,” said Kimondo.
This took him one year and in 2013 he received his production permit. “It is at the sixth examination by the bureau officers that I qualified, allowing me to do mass production. Each time, KEBS advised me on what I needed to do to get its approval.”
RELATED ARTICLE: Canola extracts curb potato nematodes
He has since become a daily producer of canola oil producing 2,000 kilogrammes of the oil a day and at the same time going around the country to encourage more farmers to venture in canola farming.
“I am a member of Agricultural Training Centres(ATC) or Agricultural Technology Developments Centres (ATDC) or Agricultural Mechanization Centres (AMC) in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii, Mombasa, Eldoret and Machakos where I plant canola and train farmers on growing the crop.”
Other than the centres, Kimondo annually attends various Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) shows across the country where he always secure a space to grow canola plants and exhibit the oil as well as using the opportunity to teach farmers on the crop production.
He also grow other herbal plants which he extracts juices from and use to blend the canola oil. He has since received certification in 11th December, 2017 allowing him trade and train on herbal plants.
Kieni Canola Oil industry, is also producing other oils such as pumpkin seeds oil-20 litres a day, black seed oil-40 litres a month, neem seed oil-20 litres a month and peanut oil-500 kilogrammes a month.
He sell his products to supermarkets and retail shops in Nyeri, Nairobi, Meru, Machakos, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Kirinyaga, Thika and Naivasha among other places, a business which is currently earning him an annual turnover of over one million shillings.
RELATED ARTICLE: Neem oil farmer offering elephantiasis remedy to Coast residents
You can reach Kimondo on Canola farming ambassador builds his first oil extraction cottage industry in+254 722 550053