In the tranquil village of Karurumo situated in Embu County, Kenya, Lukas Njiru has dedicated the past thirty years to building his livelihood through an unexpected source—sugarcane.
“Each morning, at the crack of dawn, the first task on my agenda is to assess the sharpness of my machete, preparing for my day of selling sugarcane,” Njiru mentioned.
Njiru manages a modest wooden shop near the bustling Karurumo-Ishiara road, where the intensifying heat contributes to the growing demand for sugarcane.
In contrast to many Kenyans who pursue opportunities abroad, this entrepreneur has discovered fulfillment in the simplicity and independence that comes with selling sugarcane.
Having transitioned from a life as a casual laborer—a role that sapped his energy and provided meager pay—this sugarcane vendor now relishes the autonomy of being his own boss.
On a prosperous day, his earnings can reach up to Ksh1,200, a significant improvement from the financial struggles of his previous endeavors.
The intricacies of his trade involve procuring sugarcane from local farmers in the morning, each cane acquired for Sh10 and sold for a minimum of Ksh30.
The entrepreneur strategically acquires sugarcane from Gichera and Muregwa areas, recognizing the superior quality that customers prefer.
Despite the challenges inherent in his work, such as muscle strain after a strenuous day, the vendor confronts them with resilience.
The ban on polythene bags has posed a challenge in storing small 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 daily grind, this sugarcane business has not only provided sustenance but has also been the foundation 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 shared.