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    Kenyan market

    By George Munene

    The flooding of Ethiopian tomatoes into the Kenyan market has led to a halt in the good times for Kenyan farmers as the wholesale price of tomatoes has dropped by a whopping 40 per cent over the past two weeks in major markets.

    The long March to April rains are usually accompanied by record prices for Kenyan tomatoes, importation of tomatoes from Kenya’s northern neighbor has however led to depressed prices.

    The news is far more positive for onion farmers. Despite the best efforts of brokers to lower farm gate prices, onion prices have been on an upward trajectory now at Sh 86 a kilogram as markets remain grossly undersupplied. 

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    Unlike tomato farmers, onion growers can rest easy for a while as the usual influx of Tanzanian onions into the country is not expected for another couple of months.

    The price of potatoes has also been falling steadily owing to the entry of Tanzanian potatoes into the country.

    “The ongoing drought in the country, delayed rains and high input costs have led to depressed yields; this has contributed to the prevailing high commodity prices.

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    This is however countered by the high cost of living which has weakened the spending power of Kenyans and means brokers can't afford to increase prices,” explained Joshua Mamwaka a wholesale trader at Nairobi’s Marikiti market.

    For a detailed breakdown of the price of these and more agricultural commodities reach Joshua Mamwaka: 0792404438 

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    By George Munene

    Bryan Kwena has carved a niche for himself as the go-to guy for anyone sourcing sesame in bulk from East Africa. Despite his company, Orgature Sesame Supply Limited, being based in Kenya, he's often forced to source the cereal from Uganda which incurs him an extra cost. But as he explains it; “You can't tell a client you just can't get what they need.”

    Sesame, more commonly referred to as simsim by Kenyans, grows best in high temperatures of 26 to 30°C and demands very little water when growing (300-600 mm). This makes it one of the few ideal crops for semi-arid and arid farmers.

    “It would be cheaper to source for sesame from local farmers (he often gets what little he can from farmers in Lamu), however, getting the crop in large quantities from Kenyan farmers is often unrealistic,” Bryan said. 

    Related News: New sesame hulling plant launched in Ethiopia to provide farmers with ready market

    Imported agricultural goods are subject to import tax while additional costs are also incurred in freight charges as well as in loading and offloading.

    Once Ugandan farmers/ brokers suss out that the buyer is Kenyan their quoted price immediately rises. There is also very little wiggle room in negotiations for Kenyan traders in neighboring markets.

    “You’ll close a deal for white sesame only to have brown sesame delivered,” Bryan said in explaining some of the hazards in dealing with someone far removed from you.

    Largescale food manufacturers similarly get most of their sesame from neighboring Somalia where the average annual rainfall is about 200 mm in most parts of the country and Ethiopia’s south-eastern and north-eastern lowlands where rainfall averages are less than 300 mm annually. These climatic conditions make the two countries ideal for intensive sesame farming.

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    Unhulled white sesame, which is little grown and in demand is sold at Sh 210-220/ Kg compared to the more accessible brown sesame which costs Sh170-180. 

    Kwena works with local buyers and importers as far out as Israel as the global appetite for sesame seeds continues to grow owing to the increased inclination amongst consumers toward more healthy diets. Used to extract oil, and in the making of confectionery, cosmetics, medicines, and pet food, the global market in sesame is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 1.5% between 2020-2027 to $7.56 billion. 

     

    Bryan Kwena

    Managing Director | CEO   

    Orgature Sesame Supply Limited

    We source and supply Brown | White | Black Sesame

    Contact:

    +254702148381

    +254202148381

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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    By George Munene

    At just 29 years old Ted Gachanga has built a successful agribusiness—Sprout Organic—supplying value-added vermicompost and vermiliquid fertiliser to a lucrative but underserved urban grower market.

    Having run for six years now, the business supplies two tons of the organic fertiliser monthly, even setting up shop in upmarket Lavington, Nairobi, to better serve their clients.

    “We are focused on a niche client base of urban farmers and gardeners, offering a readily accessible potting mix with vermicompost as the main planting media,” Gachanga explains. They don't have to get their hands soiled and the mixture comes in packaged bags. Unlike most soils, it is well aerated, porous, and doesn't compact. “While a kilogram of raw vermicompost is sold for between Sh 60-100, value addition, home delivery, and our target market allow us to sell our growing media for Sh200.”

    The choice to serve this atypical market is also informed by the worms used in vermicomposting being difficult to propagate. This constrains scaling up to serve your everyday farmer. 

    Related News: Kiambu farmer cuts lucrative niche in vermicomposting

    A Master of Management in Agribusiness holder, Ted was introduced to vermicomposting by his lecturer at Strathmore Business School Dr. Freddie Acosta. 

    There are two common worms used for vermicomposting; the African Night Crawlers and the Red Wigglers. Wigglers consume more waste and multiply prolifically — one worm births 10 others in 8-12 months.

    The worms are fed on non-acidic organic waste. This ensures there's a balance in pH and nutrients and that the refuse is well worked on. 

    While there is good money to be had in selling earthworms — a kilo goes for Sh3,000 — the farm does this infrequently and only when they need to balance out their worm population.

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    Contrary to prevailing beliefs, Gachanga explained that the making of vermicompost is a basic DIY project: The worms are kept in dark confined ground with limited exposure to sun, heat, and light. Their habitat should be moist but not wet. A kilo of worms takes up one square meter; if they are overpopulated, reproduction will be curtailed and the compost will be poorly aerated which will limit plant nutrient uptake.  

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    “Most Kenyan soils are deprived of organic matter, this in turn has led to depreciating yields for farmers. Vermicompost is an example of an organic soil amendment; a substance extremely rich in organic matter, macro and microelements that increases soil fertility by improving its physical properties, such as water retention and infiltration, permeability, drainage, aeration, and structure. 

    However, unlike synthetic fertilisers, soil amendments aren't a quick fix, and to realise these benefits require continued long-term use,” Ted said.

    Sprout Organic: 0701 113380

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