Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How I make 30,000 Shillings per Month from Selling Cabbage Waste

By Benson Bundi

Cabbage Waste: Richard Ngatia makes a living out of selling excess cabbage leaves that pluck off during handling. He buys the cabbage leaves wholesale from suppliers at the Daraja Mbili market in Kisii. He sells the cabbage leaves to cow, rabbit, and chicken farmers, who purchase them as nutritious feed for their livestock.

Ngatia says he has been in the business for around 20 years. He has been employed by Richard Chege, a fellow businessman who says he inherited the business from his father. They say the major challenge in the business is the advent of the rainy season, which means plenty of grass and livestock food, hence farmers don’t purchase the cabbage leaves. Consequently, that’s when they make the most losses.

The businessmen retail the cabbage leaves in sacks. Farmers purchase varying amounts of cabbage leaves, depending on their needs. Those with plenty of livestock buy the largest amounts of cabbage leaves. Unsurprisingly, Ngatia’s business booms during the dry season when it’s hard for farmers to find food for their livestock.

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Ngatia says selling the cabbage leaves is a better alternative to them going to waste. He says he is content with the amount of money he makes from the business, as it enables him to fend for his family. He has been able to enrol his children in college to pursue various courses and has even bought a plot and built a home for his family from the business.

The business begins in the morning when the cabbage supply vehicles offload the cabbages in the market. Ngatia and his team purchase the cabbage leaves wholesale irrespective of their quantity.

They purchase between Ksh 2,000–2,500 worth of leaves per cabbage lorry. After buying the cabbage leaves, Ngatia retails them in sacks of various sizes at Ksh 50-400, depending on the customer’s needs. Sometimes, Ngatia says he makes a loss whenever the leaves do not sell enough to return the initial investment.

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During the rainy season, things go bad as a sack of cabbage leaves can sell for as low as Ksh 100. This is because the farmers, who are the majority of Ngatia’s customers, have alternative feed for their livestock, such as Napier grass. Sometimes, a lack of customers in the rainy season leaves the businessmen with no alternative other than to call the county council tractor to dispose of the leaves.

Stephen Chege, Ngatia’s fellow businessman, started the business in 1999. He says he inherited the business from his father, and it has also enabled him to educate his children. He was assigned a corner of the Daraja Mbili market for his business after convincing the county council that he was keeping the market tidy by disposing of the cabbage waste.

However, he pays ksh 360 per month to the county council for the privilege of using the market. Apart from Ngatia, Chege has employed five other people in the business. He pays every worker ksh 40 for every sack of cabbage leaves filled. He says he makes between ksh 600 – 800 daily, which is enough to feed his family.

Richard Ngatia: How I make 30,000 Shillings per Month from Selling Cabbage Waste

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