• Tuesday, 25 June 2024
Agribusiness opens doors for Bungoma jobless youth

Agribusiness opens doors for Bungoma jobless youth

Faith Ndanyo.
Faith Ndanyo.
Image: TONY WAFULA

Youths have energy and time but lack resources and opportunities to put this energy to use.

With the high rate of unemployment and the increased number of jobless youths, there is a need to get creative and venture into entrepreneurship with the little capital one can get.

After years of unsuccessful job hunting, a group of three university graduates decided to join forces with a former agri-business trainer to better their lives through agri-business and came up with the first ever food mart in Bungoma—Andy’s Greens.

Andrew Wekunda who is the founder of the company says it started as a Community Based Organisation with 20 members.

“When I decided to actualise my dream of owning a company that provides market solutions to farmers, I had many youths wanting to join but a business like this is demanding, so most of them dropped out and I remained with only three that I now work with,” he said.

Andy’s Greens store is operated by four youths—Chris Mbaya, Faith Ndanyo, Ken Nyukuri and Wekunda.

Mbaya did a course in hospitality management and tourism at the Cooperative University and graduated in 2018.

Wekunda is a lawyer, Ndanyo is a teacher while Nyukuri studied business and commerce.

Wekunda says the store was opened in mid 2020 purposely to have a place where farmers’ produce can be channeled at fair prices, before being moved on to consumers and at the same time help them earn a living.

“When Covid-19 hit Kenya in 2020, it brought about restriction of movement and interactions, we decided to step up and find something that would help bring farm produce close to consumers and at the same time help us make some money,” he added.

When they started, Wekunda had five acres of land that he had planted Kunde which they used to harvest and hawk around Bungoma town.

From his previous hustles at One Acre Fund, Wekunda had bought a van which they started using to move from one market to another in search of fresh farm produce to satisfy their growing customer demands.

However, they were not making any progress because the largest amount of their earnings went into fuelling the van.

This was sorted when they decided to change their mode of operation and only focus on buying their products directly from farmers and cut down on dealing with middle men.

“We were spending so much money on fuel moving around markets of which sometimes we failed to get the quality of goods we needed for our clients. We decided to go out for a field survey and talk to farmers and convince them to start supplying their produce to us at fair prices," Ndanyo said.

With these small but steady milestones they were making, the business grew and they moved from hawking into owning a food mart store where they now source their products directly from farmers in Mt Elgon.

The farm produce includes Irish potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, traditional vegetables, different types of fruits and roots.

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