In the bustling chaos of Nairobi’s Ngong Road, where honking horns and hurried footsteps fill the air, lies a hidden gem – a thriving soil trade that fuels the dreams of homeowners seeking lush gardens and aspiring gardeners hoping to cultivate vegetables on their small city plots.
Little do most people know that beneath the surface of this seemingly ordinary commodity lies a lucrative industry that shapes the landscape of Nairobi, both literally and figuratively.
Margret Nyambura, a seasoned roadside soil trader, knows the soil business inside out.
She ventured into this trade 23 years ago when she recognized the potential in providing the foundation for green spaces in the city.
With red loam being the prized variety, Margret ensures that her customers receive the best soil for landscaping and gardening needs.
To ensure healthy growth, Margaret expertly combines the red loam with cow or goat manure.
”For example, we mix three sacks of red soil with one sack of manure,” she explains.
She sources her red soil from construction sites and forests, allowing her to maintain a steady supply for her eager customers.
A seven-tonne lorry of manure costs around Ksh24,000, while red soil costs approximately Ksh9,000 per seven-tonne lorry.
Margaret’s dedication and expertise have earned her noteworthy clients, such as the homeowner building three houses who sought her soil mixed with manure for landscaping.
The project netted her an impressive Ksh200,000 – a testament to the lucrative potential of the soil business.
Margaret’s belief in the superiority of red soil finds validation in the thriving gardens, farms, and landscapes nurtured by her customers.
The soil traders primarily cater to those seeking topsoil for their gardening and landscaping needs.
This versatile soil serves as a protective layer on the ground, creates new beds and borders, and provides a sturdy base for turf laying or sowing grass seed.
Its ability to support a wide variety of plants and vegetables makes it a favorite among Nairobi’s green enthusiasts.
Margaret’s success in the soil business has been remarkable, allowing her to create employment opportunities for three other individuals while also selling plants.
During peak seasons, her business can earn her up to Ksh5,000 per day, a substantial sum that contributes to her financial stability.
Margret Nyambura takes pride in the fact that her business has enabled her to purchase land and build her home, freeing her from the burden of monthly rent payments.
However, like any other business, Margaret faces challenges, including water scarcity for her plants and a steep location that hampers visibility for potential customers.
Nonetheless, her determination and experience continue to drive her business forward.