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HomeWealthIan Mutuiri: Mechanical Engineer Ventures In Production Of Tamarind 'Mkwaju' Juice, Paste

Ian Mutuiri: Mechanical Engineer Ventures In Production Of Tamarind ‘Mkwaju’ Juice, Paste

Ian Mutuiri is the founder of  Ian Farmhouse, a local company adding value to the tamarind fruit, otherwise known as ‘mkwaju’.

Ian, a technician by profession, founded the Ian Farmhouse about two years ago after quitting his job.

The businessman was initially training youth and women on ways of adding value to the fruit before he started making his own products.

Here is Ian’s story as told by WoK.

Value addition

Ian founded Ian Farmhouse in 2019.

Initially, he was training women and youth to empower them on value addition before he ventured into production.

“I believed that if you’re training people about a certain product, it’s important that you have a product yourself so that you become a testimony what you’re training them about,” he said.

Ian settled on tamarind and he immediately started doing research on the fruit, its benefits and whether it was a good fruit to add value to.

Production

He started by making tamarind paste, but a few months into the production of the paste, COVID hit and it indefinitely halted his business.

It is then when he thought of making more by products from the fruit.

“During that period, I thought of a by product of that that can be easily consumable. That’s when now I came up with making the tamarind juice,” Ian said.

Selling under the brand, Marisha Juice, Ian Farmhouse makes the tamarind juices in two flavours; mint and ginger.

“I knew the tamarind before but I never knew about its health benefits, doing the research and understanding the benefits, I started making it from my house,” he said.

Ian would make the juices at home and share it with his kids before finally commercializing it by going through KEBS for certification.

“I started in a small way like sharing it with my friends, and they started telling me of its benefits and showing interest in the product,” he said.

Challenges

In an interview with KTN, Ian cited the unpopularity of tamarind fruits as one of the major challenges in his business.

This way, he explained, they have to run awareness campaigns and marketing to convince clients to try their products.

“Only the people who live near areas that tamarind grows know about it. So we have the challenge of making awareness about it to consumers,” he said.