Alex Ombuto, a cassava farmer from Kisumu County is earning up to Sh480,000 a year targeting residents of Kilimani estate in the county where the demand for the tubers is high.
The electrical engineering graduate from Kisumu Polytechnic says that since he introduced the idea to the 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 Ombuto.
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.
A doughnut goes for Sh10 and chapati Sh20. Cakes are sold for between Sh250 to Sh500 depending on the size and are baked on order, with his sales hitting Sh30,000 during social events such as weddings and birthday celebrations where he supplies the products on order.
From his modest savings of sh3,000, 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 per day.
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The father of six now diversifies his business by buying more land to plant cassavas to reduce the costs of purchasing the raw produce. He plans to expand business to reach the potential growth needs of many customers.
The price of his home-crisps ranges between Sh100 and Sh300, depending on the quantity and size of the products. However, for his clients such as supermarkets and hotels which buys the products, the cost depends on quantity purchased. Given their location, the couple enjoys a monopoly.
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