Joshua Gitonga: Former Civil Servant Running A Successful Oil Seed Extraction Company

Joshua Gitonga is the proprietor of Rafikipay Ltd, a cooking oil producing company headquartered in Meru County.

Other than doing value addition, he also grows sunflower, canola and soya in farms spread across Meru, Tana River and Nakuru counties.

Gitonga said his initial market was animal feed manufacturing but it had little returns forcing him to go into value addition.

Here is a story as told by WoK.

Gitonga ventured into agribusiness in 2014.

Initially, he grew sunflower and soya on a 2-acre piece of land which he would then use in manufacturing animal feeds.

However, he realized that the animal feeds market was not lucrative forcing him to turn to value addition.

“I researched and realized I can add value to the sunflower and soya beens by extracting oil before taking them to the market,” Gitonga said.

He also quit his job at the Parliamentary Service Commission to concentrate on his oil seed extraction venture.

With Ksh 500,000 savings, he got a processing machine that enabled him to produce two tonnes per day. He later advanced to an eight-tone processing machine.

Gitonga runs a processing plant at Chaaria Village along the Meru-Nairobi hightail that sits on half an acre.

The plant comprises two oil processing machine with a capacity of milling at least 10 tonnes cumulatively per day.

It also hosts a storage for sunflower, soya and canola seeds as well as a place to assemble oil dispensers.

Gitonga has contracted 62,000 farmers through an aggregation program although he currently works with 25,000 of them.

Through the program, he also offers among other services supplying farmers with certified seeds and marketing their produce.

He has also adopted the use of modern technologies by setting up a mobile app, Rafiki Farmers Management, which enables him to offer different services.

The venture has seen Gitonga recognized by Heifer International through AYuTE Africa Challenge in 2022.

He was among the top winners and took home Ksh 500,000 award which he used to fund his venture.

Gitonga sells a litre of sunflower oil for Ksh 300 while canola and soya costs Ksh 350 and Ksh 400 respectively.

While 95 percent of the oil is sold to distributors, he also gives his distributors free oil ATMs for dispensing oil.

Gitonga has 12 permanent workers.