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Ingenious tactics Peasant Farmer uses to stay in business in Kenya

By Oluoch Madiang' | Aug 13th 2016 | 3 min read

Of course by now you know the most common and trending Kenyan sayings. Such clever terms like ‘utume na ya kutoa’, ‘serikali imetenga’, ‘hakuna matata’ and ‘imara kama simba’ have recently been elevated to the ‘all-time best Kenyan sayings’.

Sayings like ‘kumi, kumi, kumi’ sang by two hawkers elling mitumba clothes during a market day should not be taken literally to mean the price of the second hand cloth is Sh10. It is actually 10 times 3 times 2 which gives you Sh60. And of course when a taxi driver tells you the common saying ‘niko tu hapa kwa kona. Hunioni?’, you should go back to your house, brew tea and watch news before they arrive.

Anyway, what better way to sell your produce than by applying the best sayings by farmers? First, the Peasant Farmer always ensures that a huge banner straddles his stall and space during market day. The banner wisely counsels the customer to ‘put your friends close, but put your farmer closer’! And wow, doesn’t this attract smiling customers ready to part with their mashilingi to the benefit of the Peasant Shamba! On arriving at my stall, they find that I have a range of produce including fresh nyanya and well prepared fruit salad which I sell at a higher price because I have added the value of kuzikatakata.

Being tired of constant questions my customers as to why I sell nyanya kando and fruit salad kando, I have done a nice poster and placed in between the two products on offer. The poster reads, ‘knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad!’ See, immediately the silly questions end just like that.

There are also friends who come to the farm market on Friday’s to boast about their having a light day and looking forward to a dance and a drink. They always taunt the Peasant Farmerthat he is so silly he doesn’t notice TGIF which they think means Thank God it is Friday and then proceed to waste their little pesa mbili. The best retort I give is always ‘Thank God I Farm’ and proceed to make hela nono for my savings account.

We farmers have to compete with the junk industry of fast foods. That is when we scare customers with cancer and diabetes and basically advise them to ‘eat less from a packed box, eat more from mother earth. But every farmer knows that the most annoying customer is the one who comes to the stall and starts picking fruit, squeezing them then shaking them as they listen for some unexplained ghosts and throws them up and down ostensibly to determine weight. These idling sadists are huge in number, and you can imagine a mango that goes through such mishandling by ten lazy and broke hands. In the end the farmer loses his produce and suffers untold loss. To such sadists, the saying ‘you touch, you pay’ works wonders!

Of course, the best market saying is, ‘once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a priest, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer!’

The Peasant Farmer

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