Attending a friend’s wedding ceremony in Nanyuki fuelled Esmond Nduati to venture into making charcoal briquettes-rod of flammable material used for cooking.
The briquette has become the most sought in many rural households and hotels.
He borrowed a soft loan from the bank and invested in a manual briquette-making machine that he uses to roll a mixture of red soil, charcoal dust and water into short, black wet rods, which resemble coal.
“I had gone to Nanyuki for a wedding ceremony and I found people were using briquettes to cook instead of firewood. I asked one of the local how they make the briquettes and that’s how I got the idea and ventured into this business. That visit made me realise that I can make good money from briquettes because there is a lot of demand from hotels and those who do poultry farming”, Nduati told city biz.
Nduati marshaled his thoughts and decided to walk to the bank to borrow some money so that he could start to cultivate his new found love. He built a small factory at home and kicked off his business.
“The biggest challenge was to acquire the manual machine that cost sh.13, 000. The raw materials were readily available. There is plenty of charcoal dust and I could easily get them free or sometimes at a low price. I do not have many expenses to make my products because I use manpower to operate the machine. When the machine is well-oiled work becomes easier”.
He is making briquettes used for cooking in Kiambu where he was born and takes them to the market to hawk using a mkokoteni. He sells more than 30 sacks a month for between Sh1200 and Sh60 for a two-kilogram container.
“I pour the mixture of red soil, charcoal dust, and water on the extruder, which rolls into short, black wet rods that look like coal. I dry the rods in the sun for three days before taking them to the market,” said the 27-year-old.
He is currently the main supplier in Kiambu town and he makes Sh1200 a day but during market days he can easily make Sh2500.
“Business is doing well now because people have identified my products which are not common in this area”, he says he is planning to save enough money so that he can buy the electric machine to expedite the processing of briquettes due to the market expansion.
Mr.Nduati says that the returns from his business have also enabled him to buy two cows to supplement his income as he plans to expand his business.