Fishy business: I export yummy ‘omena’ to Germany

Owily Madoro

They say that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. For the little fish known as omena, this saying cannot be truer.

Omena is a staple food in many Kenyan households and is famed for its crunchy texture and savoury taste.

However, a good number of Kenyans cannot stand the smell of the tiny fish.

But if you ask Owily Madoro, omena is not only a delicacy, but also a gold mine which has earned him steady income and a huge client base in Kenya and Germany.

Before he ventured into his fish business, Madoro was employed in a local brewery. Unfortunately, his contract ended two years ago.

The father of one had saved Sh30,000 which he intended to use as capital for a business. He soon settled on selling omena, not by the roadside, but online.

One year on, Madoro has established Mr Fish, a company that supplies omena and other types of fish in Nairobi and other counties. The online brand also has loyal customers in Germany.

“I decided to sell omena online when I realised that most people don’t like buying them from stalls, markets or the roadside for fear of contamination,” he told City Biz.

Lucky for him, Madoro had completed a marketing course in which he learnt the ropes of online business. He applied this knowledge to his business and fortunately, it worked for him. 

The ‘urban fisherman’ now supplies omena to as far places as Moyale, Mombasa, Meru, Machakos and other towns in the country. Besides omena, he also sells other types of fish, including smoked tilapia, obambo, kamongo, fulu and mumi among others.

“I get my stock from Homa Bay every weekend,” he says, adding that: “Omena comes as either deep-fried or sun-dried, but with time, I’ve realised that deep-fried omena sells like hot cake.”

Madoro says decent packaging and presentation of his products made him win the hearts of customers. On a good day, he makes more than 20 deliveries in Nairobi alone.

“Most clients prefer deep-fried fish because it’s already half-cooked and does not emit any smell,” he says.

Two kilogrammes of deep-fried omena retail for Sh400, while the sun-dried ones retail for Sh300. Other types of fish retail between Sh200 and Sh300. His clients make orders online through his social media handle, Mr Fish.

As for other customers abroad, Madoro delivers his packages through relatives who visit the country frequently.

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