Bags full of kales being loaded into a vehicle at Nyambari, along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway for transportation to towns like Kisumu. A supplier is making more than Sh50,000 per week from such deliveries. Photo by Laban Robert.
As the prices for the kales continue rising in major town in Kenya, one supplier is making more than Sh50,000 a week by buying the vegetables from rural farmers and delivering the produce to the urban areas for sale.
John Kimani delivers the kales- locally known as sukuma wiki- to Kisumu City three or four times a week.
The more than four-month spell in the country has caused doubling of the cost of vegetables, with the kales being one of the most sought produce.
The cost of a bag of between 60kg and 70kg in the lakeside city has shot from Sh 800 to reach Sh2,500 over the last one month.
The Kiambu County agripreneur buys the same quantity at Sh1,500 from the farmers from Kimende, Lari Constituency, and other surrounding areas.
“The transportation and miscellaneous costs of every bag total to Sh500. That means am left with about a net of Sh500 from each bag if I sell each of them at Sh2,000,” Kimani said.
He, however, notes that the price keeps varying and at times he buys the same bag at Sh1,000 and sells it at Sh2,500. This helps in covering those days he may have made a loss or a marginal profit.
From the sales of 40 bags at Sh2,000 each, a net income of Sh500 from each earns Kimani Sh20,000. For three trips to Kisumu in a week, the amount triples to Sh60,000.
He makes three to four deliveries per week to the city, which is more than 280km to the west of Nairobi.
Farmers deliver the vegetables to collection centres along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway during the day. He pays them in cash before traveling over-night to Kisumu.
He spends the following day in Kisumu before travelling back to Nairobi at night. By the third day, he is collecting the produce again for another trip.
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Unlike the popular view that middlemen exploit farmers in the supply chain, Kimani says locating and delivering the goods to the market is challenging.
Every producer cannot afford to search and deliver the goods to the market unless they are large scale farmer.
In covering the cost of fuel back to Kiambu, Kimani has connections with other Kisumu traders, who he helps in delivering various goods to Nairobi with his canter vehicle.
Indeed Kimani is not alone in this business as the highway stretch from Limuru to past Kimende towns is littered with the white kales and spinach bags ready for transportation to Nakuru, Mombasa, Nairobi and other regions.
Today, a 70kg bag of kales is costing Sh1,740 in Nairobi, Sh1,660 in Mombasa, Sh2,840 in Nakuru and Sh1,880 in Eldoret.