“I had no idea of what business to pursue” says Jane Akumu, an omena supplier at Kawangware market. Jane is a widow living in Kawangware with her two children and three grandchildren. Being a member of DOVE Springs Sacco, Jane took a loan of thirty thousand Kenya shillings and decided to venture into omena business, even though she was uncertain what the outcome would be.
With hope, resilience, sacrifice and hard work, Jane has managed to shift to a bigger house that can accommodate her and her children and has a section where she can store her omena. “Before, I used to request a friend to keep my sacks for me at the close of business and many times, I found them tempered with. I always felt bad.”
Jane can now meet more of the needs of her family. “I am happy that I can pay rent, pay school fees for my children and put food on the table. I wake up at 5:00 a.m and by 5:30 a.m, I am already settled at the market selling omena to the retailers.” Despite being uncertain of the kind of business to engage in before, Jane is proud of herself for taking the risks; a loan and venturing into a business that she was not sure would pick up. “In a good day, I make Ksh 5,000 and in a bad day, I make Ksh 1,000,” asserts Jane.
Just like in any other business, Jane encounters challenges. Her major challenge is transportation of the sacks of omena from Lake Victoria. “It is expensive and I cannot be sure if I will get them since I order for them here in Nairobi,” Jane explains. She recalls a recent scenario where her two sacks of omena were rained on and she had to sell them at a throw-away price to farmers to feed their animals. “That was really a set-back,” she says. “I could not repay the loan in time since I had other needs to meet at home.”
As she builds up the business, Jane aspires to buy land, build rental houses and plant maize in the village. This is as a result of the omena business opening her eyes to other business possibilities.
By Daisy Kilel