Esther Gathoni: Nakuru Onion Wholesaler Who Started Business With Ksh 700 Capital

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Esther Gathoni PHOTO/Courtesy

Esther Gathoni Macharia is a trader at Nakuru’s Wakulima Market where she is also serving as the Assistant Secretary.

In an interview with Imagine Business, the trader said she got into agribusiness in 2008 by selling oranges in the busy market.

Gathoni sold oranges for a while before she shifted to the onion business with Ksh 700 as the starting capital.

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Here is her story as told by WoK.

Agribusiness

Esther got into business in 2008, just after the General Elections and started selling oranges at the Wakulima Market alongside her cousin.

She sold oranges for a while before she left to try the onions business due to conflict of interest between herself and the cousin.

“I stopped selling oranges because it appeared that I was selling more than my cousin. I decided to leave the business to her and concentrate on something new,” Esther said.

Ksh 700 investment

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While venturing into the onions business, Esther used Ksh700 as her initial capital.

The then budding businesswoman would sell the onions as a retailer and now, 10 years later, she is a wholesaler with her own stall at the market.

“By then I was down. I had Ksh 700 only which was my starting capital as a retailer. I would buy onions at Ksh 17 per kilo and sell out there as a retailer,” she said.

Esther gets her goods from both local farmers and those from neighboring countries.

“We get our products from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and locally like Kiawara, Bungoma and Ortum

“We prefer those coming from Tanzania because the quality is high and it is cheaper compared with the ones from Kenya,” she explained.

Challenges

Esther has also encountered some challenges in her business.

For instance, with the hard economic times, wholesalers are forced to sell goods on credit but sometimes end up dealing with untrustworthy clients.

Price rates, competition and the best quality of goods is also among challenges that she has faced in her business.

“Challenges are there especially for us wholesalers. For instance, with our current economy, people don’t have money and we are forced to sell our goods on credit. Some times we end up loosing money because we might give onions to an untrustworthy person

“Competition is also a challenge especially when it comes to prices. You might have a specific price but someone else is selling it at a more cheaper rate,” Esther mentioned.

Esther has also tried onion farming in Kenya and Tanzania.

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