Sugarcane business is one of the most profitable businesses in Nairobi. The business is booming-no doubt-but many Kenyans always despise those engaging in this business.

After watching them sell on the streets day in day out, we decided to ask them how much they make. Here is the answer.

Most of those who sell sugarcane on the streets of Nairobi are Kisiis, but there is a significant number of Kikuyu, who have realized that the business is profitable.

These entrepreneurs source their sugarcane from Kisii, a place called Keumbu. They either collectively hire a vehicle to transport the sugarcane or go for them individually.

What we heard from them is that a single sugarcane tree costs Ksh.30 to Ksh.40 in Kisii but when it arrives in Nairobi it costs Ksh.80 to Ksh.100.

If you make your calculations, you will notice that a single tree earns the businessman at least Ksh.30 profit.

More than 80% of them said they sell 30 to 50 trees of sugarcane per day. If a single sugarcane can make one Ksh.30 then 50 of them will bring Ksh.1,500.

Now, in a month, the entrepreneur will make Ksh.45,000 while a bank teller will make Ksh.45,000 which is subjected to taxation.

Apart from those who sell raw sugarcane, there are others who sell sugarcane juice. For your information, sugarcane juice can heal more than 5 diseases.

What is exciting about the sugarcane business is that there are no extra costs apart from buying a wheelbarrow and transportation.

Dominic Jisemba, an entrepreneur who quit his job to venture into sugarcane value addition is now earning at least Sh.10,000 in profits daily, 10 times more income from his initial career.

Twenty seven year old Dominic Jisemba makes sugarcane juice, a business he started in January this year after quitting a security job at Alasraya Security Company in Qatar which was earning him Sh.41,000 monthly.

“A family friend from Kenya advised me to venture into sugarcane juice production because he felt there was ready market and demand,” said Jisemba.

A research by Joaquim Mauricio Duarte, a scientist, on health benefits of sugar revealed that a natural compound found in sugarcane juice was shown to reduce the growth of human cancer cells.

The research further said that this compound was most effective against colon cancer cells and multidrug resistant breast cancer. Sugarcane juice is therefore beneficial to consumers with statistics revealing that cancer deaths have doubled over the last five years from 20,000 to 40,000 according to the Kenya Cancer Network of Organisations.

Having saved Sh.100,000 from his security job in Qatar, he procured basic materials for his then to be production business: a machine at Sh.80,000, sugarcane at Sh.3000, jinja at Sh.800, lemon at Sh.500 and plastic cups at a cost of Sh.500.

“Two months into the business, I still did not have a specific working space because I used to move depending on where the demand was high,” said Jisemba.

After a two-day training at a local shop in Nairobi where he bought the machine, the entrepreneur employed four people to help in cleaning sugarcane and welcoming visitors.

“I pay my employees Sh.1,000 a day as per our contract basis. We make a staff of five and work together regardless of who is the boss and who are the employees,” said Jisemba.

Jisemba grinds 70 pieces of cane in a day which yields 700 glasses of juice. A 200ml glass of juice goes at Sh.50 while a 500ml glass cost Sh.100. One sugarcane retails at Sh.30.

The graduate from Nairobi aviation collage now engages in a field related to what he graduated in; catering.

“I make a profit of Sh.10,000 a day after settling all production costs and my employee’s salaries. It is an initiative I was not sure about while I started but now caters for my bills and expenses,” said Jisemba.

Just as many business personnel opt for customer satisfaction as their first priority, Jisemba is not an exemption. He believes that his clients are the reason he wakes up in the morning to grind sugarcane and extract juice.

“I get my clients from church gatherings, university and college students, social events and referrals,” said Jisemba.

His main challenge comes in when sugarcane retailers become inconsistent and fail to deliver his order on time despite him having paid for all expenses.

“Every business has its own shortcoming. At times my business runs smooth and at times it’s tough. Sugarcane market in Nairobi is unreliable and sometimes we order sugarcane from retailers in Kisii County who supply a maximum of 600 pieces on a lorry for one order,” said Jisemba.

“I sometimes sell the extra stock of sugarcane to friends especially when the market is dry. I sell them at an added cost of Sh.6 per cane,” said Jisemba.

In five years-time, he wishes to expand his business, buy other machines and employ more staff for efficient running of the business.

“I want to create employment and at the same time distribute more sugarcane juice to various parts of the country,” said Jisembe.

The Umoja based entrepreneur advices youths to invest in sugarcane juice business because it has a ready market and few health benefits.

Credits: Justine Nyachieo