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    Nyamira farmer cashes in on wholesale banana ripening side hustle

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    As ba­nana grow­ers wait for nine months to get about Sh500 from on bunch an­other ag­ri­pren­eur is mak­ing twice the same amount in two weeks by ripen­ing the fin­gers for sale to schools.

    Afro Ochi­eng’ buys and ripens the fruit for whole­sale to schools around Nyamusi Sub-county, Nyamira County.

    A 70kg to 80kg ba­nana costs Ochi­eng about Sh600. The only ‘value ad­di­tion’ he does is let­ting the ba­na­nas ripens for four to seven days be­fore pack­ing the hands into the stand­ard bread crates.

    “Each crate earns Sh3,000. One needs three ba­na­nas bunches to fill the crate. For every full bunch, I make between Sh1,000 and Sh1,100. For some farm­ers ripen­ing and selling is te­di­ous, but for me, it is my pay,” he said.

    The farmer, who also has 20 stands of ba­nana bushes, said sec­ond­ary schools are his main mar­ket.

    Ochi­eng sells at least nine crates every week to Moch­enwa, St. Kaiser, among other sec­ond­ary schools in Nyamusi Su-county.

    “Schools buy at whole­sale. The trick is hav­ing extra money to buy the ba­na­nas from those farm­ers who need ready cash. Ikonge, Mag­wawa, Ri­omego, Eker­enyo are renowned places for ba­nana grow­ing, there­fore, the sup­ply is steady,” he said.

    A ba­nana takes about nine months and one year to grow from a sucker to yield­ing. By the end of this period, a ba­nana of about 90kg- from tis­sue cul­ture or an­other Kisii local vari­ety called ng’ombe- earns farm­ers Sh800 to Sh900.

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    Apart from the old 20 stools, he has ex­pan­ded the ba­nana by adding 80 fresh ones to have him covered dur­ing short­ages.

    Ochi­eng is part of the Misire Self- help Group, which also bakes bread, cakes and other products from ba­na­nas for sale to vari­ous out­lets in Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho and other neigh­bour­ing counties. 

    The group also dries and grinds ba­nana peel­ings into power for sale. Ba­nana peel­ings ‘dust’ is said to lower the ulcer ef­fect due to the vari­ous min­er­als in the un­cooked ma­ter­i­als. 

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