In Summary
  • Kariuki’s shop located in Donholm estate in Nairobi boasts of several cereal products such as rice, maize, millet and sorghum as well as legumes like beans, peanuts and green grams sourced from around the country.
  • For Kariuki, though, the process of sourcing the cereals and legumes is entirely different but equally requires patience and caution. The 23-year-old works with a network of traders, some of who go to the farms to collect the best produce, another group transports it to the urban areas before it reaches him to sell to consumers.
  • Kariuki buys a 300kg bag of pishori rice at Sh33,900, transport charges included, then sells at Sh150 a kilo. A bag of beans, on the other hand, goes for up to Sh10,000, with maize being among the cheapest grains.
  • To run the business, one has to have several licences. Kairuki has a health permit which costs Sh1,200 a year, one for food hygiene Sh7,000 and a trading licence, which goes for Sh5,000 annually.

When Patrick Kariuki first moved to Nairobi in 2017, he realised that residents loved purchasing unpacked rice from grain stores.

Having been brought up in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, where quality rice is grown and processed, he chose to venture into the grains business, ploughing into the venture Sh300,000.

Kariuki’s shop located in Donholm estate in Nairobi boasts of several cereal products such as rice, maize, millet and sorghum as well as legumes like beans, peanuts and green grams sourced from around the country.

Kevin Kiriza, on the other hand, vends farm-fresh vegetables at Mutindwa market in Buru Buru. Kiriza, who was a second-hand clothes dealer, switched business after realising there was a growing demand for traditional vegetables.

The veggies he sells include managu (African nightshade), kunde (cow peas), spinach, mrenda (jute mallow) and dodo (amaranth).

Kiriza’s day begins at 3am, with his first stop being Muthurwa market where vegetables from Busia, Kisumu and Kakamega are brought. He then heads to Gikomba market where he collects deliveries often sent in from Limuru and Kiambu where he makes direct orders from farmers.

“It takes time and caution to get the best produce at good bargain. If you don’t go early, you miss the best,” says the 25-year-old, who started the business with Sh10,000.

For Kariuki, though, the process of sourcing the cereals and legumes is entirely different but equally requires patience and caution. The 23-year-old works with a network of traders, some of who go to the farms to collect the best produce, another group transports it to the urban areas before it reaches him to sell to consumers.

“Each player in this network has to do their part well to keep the business running,” says Kariuki.

Sourcing directly from the farmer is a little cheaper for a trader, according to him, but it costs more in the sense of time and transport. However, with the network, the whole process is coordinated.

SEVERAL LICENCES

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