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Mumias' roast meat zone

By Alex Wakhisi and Jackline Inyanji | September 7th 2016
Martin Gakure preparing to serve customers nyama choma at Nabongo Nyama Choma Zone at Ekero. Ekero is known by Kenyans for 'mbuzi choma and kuku choma'. (PHOTO: CHRISPEN SECHERE/ STANDARD)

It is a tiny mini-town in Mumias but it has gained the name ‘international nyama choma zone’ owing to both national and international visitors who visit the place for nyama choma.

Ekero is its name and it specialises in mutton and chicken as well as succulent goat meat all roasted to perfection.

With a readily available market, those who venture into this trade at Ekero do not regret it.

Ruth Masinde quit her matatu business in 2008 to start Nabongo choma zone and eight years down the line she hopes to open more choma zones in the region to tap the growing business.

“This business has twice the profit margins, compared to matatu business, and I absolutely do not regret my change of gears,” she says.

So rapid has been her growth that Ruth says she needs to acquire more space since her current stall cannot hold all her clients.

Hamisi Waswa is one of Ekero’s frequent customers and he said the love for nyama choma makes him come here to have a bite almost every week.

“I come from Kakamega and opt to travel all the way here for the quality of roast meat I am sure to find. I like to eat kuku kienyeji (traditional chicken) which is roasted well at Ekero,” Waswa says.

Clients coming to Ekero are spoilt for choice as there are many stalls serving up the succulent meal. Traders like Ruth, therefore, have to apply various tactics as they work to attract and retain customers.

Martin Gakure is one of the 20 salespeople working at Nabongo choma zone and he confirms that as salespeople there is a lot to be done to get customers to their place.

“We position ourselves at strategic places to get customers. We are sometimes forced to negotiate prices and also give discount to beat the competition,” he says.

Gakure says that during the short time he has served at the joint, he has handled visitors from Nairobi and abroad who stop by seeking to satisfy their nyama choma craving.

“Accompaniments are another selling point and we offer a variety of these including kachumbari and local vegetables. Our efforts pay off since at the end of the day we will each have served at least 15 customers,” he says.

He says Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday especially between 1 and 2pm is when they serve the most clients.

“Each day, we slaughter 10 goats and 20 chicken and at the end of the day we do not have any meat left. We start work at 6am and close business at midnight after all customers have left,” he says.

For years Ekero has been known for nyama choma but in its initial days, it was known for its roast goat heads and soup. All sold under a tree.

From these humble beginnings, the place is now a big centre recognised for its roasted meat delicacies.

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