Chia plant seeds. Photo courtecy.
A sales representative is making roughly Sh50,000 from selling chia plant seeds during off-work periods such as weekends, holidays and work to avoid over-relying on her salary alone as she looks forward.
According to Cooperate Staffing Services, a sales representative in Kenya earns between Sh40,000 and Sh50,000 plus commissions.
Jenifer Kamau who works with Micro Herbs Industries to promote and sell the company’s various organic and natural products covering Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties discovered that her convincing skills in wooing customers towards buying or liking a product could have helped her earn an extra coin.
“I have worked with the company for five years and I have since realized that with quality and proper products I can influence buyers’ decisions because what most of them lack is the information about a particular product, that is all,” said Jenifer.
“I started selling chia plant seeds last year September after attending Central Kenya ASK show in Nyeri representing my company where I also got introduced to a company which deals in chia and moringa plants’ products.”
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Since Jeniffer do not have a direct contact with the farmers growing the plants and because of her job commitments, she decided to have a deal with the company which has seen her buy chia plant seeds from them and sell to her customers when she is free.
“I have about 20 loyal customers who place their orders by phone and I deliver the seeds to them through public transport service vehicles even in mid-week,” she said.
Most afternoon weekends she would visit business centres where she display her products for first time prospective buyers but for her usual customers who know her market time and places, she would either find them waiting or call in once she arrives.
“In a good weekend afternoon I serve over 15 customers buying in different quantities. At least I walk away with over Sh20,000 a day.”
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A 50 gram of the seeds goes for Sh200 while 250 grams fetches Sh600 each. A customers buying a 250 gram, for example, pays more to cater for transport fee depending on his or her location. However she says that her big sales is during organized farmers’ field days when she can sell up to Sh65,000 a day.
“We are in a WhatsApp group where we are notified by various farmers and agriculture extension officers of any farmer events’ especially at the county level and I like such events because I meet various people especially farmers interested in planting chia plant which has many health benefits.”
The plant seeds has about 14 per cent protein and high fibre content which can help in weight loss, and have omega-3 fatty acids which improve certain blood markers, which should lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The seeds are also rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium which are proper for bone health.
“They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to porridge and pudding, or added to baked goods. You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes. This is because they can absorb both water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces and even used as egg substitutes in recipes,” explains Jenifer.
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She is now moving to start her own enterprise which she has already named Sabroragia Herbs to enable her deal with farmers directly.
“I want to source these seeds from farmers personally, sort them and package them with my brand name,” she said.
Chia plant which is resistant to many crop diseases and do not need high amount of rainfall to grow, matures within four months but may take up to five months in cold areas. An acre requires ten kilos of the seeds and a kilo goes at Sh2,000.
In a good harvest a farmer can reap 400 kilos of chia seeds per acre per harvest. Middlemen buy the seeds at Sh500 per kilo on farm gate prices translating to Sh200,000 in single harvest.