Kensalt, a popular brand of salt found in many households, is actually owned by the Patel family based in Malindi. The Patel family has a strong presence in Kenya and across the continent. The company, formerly known as Salt Manufacturers Limited, is Africa’s second-largest salt producer and produces around one million tonnes of salt annually.
Reports from the media suggest that Kensalt controls 75 percent of the salt market in Kenya and 50 percent in Uganda. Kensalt had a partnership with the government through Industrial Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) and Italian based firm, Saltec International, before expanding its continental presence.
The founder of Kensalt, Mansukh Patel, was a well-known industrialist with interests in various sectors. He owned the Solai Group of Companies, which included Kensalt Limited and Solai Coffee Estates, known for producing horticultural products like flowers, macadamia, and coffee. He also operated Enkasiri Flowers, Supplies and Services Limited, and Nairobi Ceramics.
However, the Patel family faced scrutiny when the Patel dam in Nakuru County burst, leading to the deaths of 48 people and the destruction of surrounding villages. Mansukh’s son was among nine people arrested in connection with the incident but was later released by the High Court due to a lack of evidence.
Mansukh passed away on June 28, 2021, while receiving treatment at a local hospital in Nairobi, reportedly due to cardiac arrest. Despite the tragedy surrounding the Patel family, Kensalt remains an essential commodity in many households.