In the quiet village of Karurumo in Embu County, Kenya, Lukas Njiru has spent the past three decades cultivating a livelihood from an unlikely source—sugarcane.
”After waking up at the crack of dawn, the first thing I do is check the sharpness of my machete in readiness for my job of selling sugarcane,” Njiru aid.
Njiru operates a simple wooden shop near the bustling Karurumo-Ishiara road, where the heat of the day becomes a catalyst for the rising demand for sugarcane.
Unlike many Kenyans who seek opportunities abroad, this entrepreneur found fulfillment in the simplicity and self-employment that comes with selling sugarcane.
Having transitioned from a life as a casual laborer, a role that drained his energy and offered meager pay, this sugarcane vendor now relishes the autonomy of being his own boss.
On a good day, his earnings can reach up to Ksh1,200, a far cry from the financial struggles of his previous endeavors.
The intricacies of his trade involve purchasing sugarcane from local farmers in the morning, each cane acquired for Sh10 and sold for at least Ksh30.
The entrepreneur strategically sources sugarcane from Gichera and Muregwa areas, recognizing the superior quality that customers prefer.
While the job brings its own set of challenges, such as muscle strain after a hard day’s work, the vendor navigates them with resilience.
The ban on polythene bags posed an obstacle to storing tiny sugarcane pieces.
”The ban on polythene bags also affects operations as I can’t store the tiny pieces of peeled sugarcane that customers prefer to take away. However, I now have more environmentally-friendly bags.”Njiru Said.
Beyond the day-to-day grind, this sugarcane business has not only provided sustenance but has been the cornerstone of his children’s education, supporting them through college.
”The job has enabled me to educate my children up to college and even bought me a motorcycle, which I use to transport sugarcane.” He said