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Cashew nuts are my lifeline

By Mwangi Muraguri | April 6th 2016
Ronald Alwang’a (left in white shirt), a cashew nuts dealer along Langoni Road in Old Town in Mombasa County converses with a customer.  Photo by Mwangi Muraguri/ Standard

Ronald Alwang’a, 39, has never regretted quitting formal employment to venture into cashew nuts business.

Five years down the line, Alwang’a who operates a makeshift stall along Langoni Road-off Digo Road in Old Town - Mombasa no longer operates under the shadow of the old friend who introduced him to the trade. He has since mastered the nuts and bolts of this business.

“I buy the cashew nuts from Kilifi and Kwale counties. This is a good business because demand is greater than supply. A good rapport with the sellers helps to built trust and ensures a steady supply,” he says.

According to Alwang’a, business peaks in September to February when there is a large number of tourists visiting the coastal town.

“The wholesale price for a kilogram of nuts is Sh500, while retail for the unbroken nuts is Sh750 and Sh600 for the broken,” he said.

From his cashew nut trade, Alwang’a makes Sh1,000 on a good day and credits the business for helping him put food on the table and pay school fees for two of his school going children.

The trade is, however, not without its challenges and he says disturbance by county government askaris, who arrest and prosecute hawkers like himself, is a constant set back he has had to contend with.

Alwang’a says cashew nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Young people tend to want the roasted variety which they buy to consume as a snack while the elderly prefer the raw type as do those in the baking business who use the nuts in making pastries.

“Cashew nuts help control blood pressure, stomach discomfort and enhance circulation of blood. Men also say they are a virility booster,” says Ali Hussein, a regular customer.

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