Paul Njuguna: Retired Engineer Running Ksh 60 Million Oil Seed Extraction Company In Kitale

Paul Njuguna is the founder of Elgon Fine Enterprises located in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County.

Before venturing into processing, he worked as a technical manager engineer at Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).

Following his retirement in 2019, Njuguna established his factory which produces up to 300 litres of oil per day.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Njuguna started oil processing in 2002 after setting up a plant at his home in Kitale.

He processes sunflower, canola and soya which he would then sell to various supermarkets and retail outlets.

Njuguna’s ventured into sunflower value addition to help his wife, a chicken farmer, grapple with substandard feeds.

“So we decided to source sunflower cake, the protein ingredient in animal feeds, to make our own,” he shared.

While getting sunflower cake was a challenge, the couple opted to get unprocessed sunflower which Njuguna would then squeeze the oils out of them.

The cake is then mixed with maize germ to make chicken feeds.

“When I started, I was doing very little, intermittently processing some 60 kilos at a time using cold presser that I bought at Ksh 20,600,” he explained.

Njuguna noted that he decided to scale up his venture following his retirement in 2019.

He explained that he invested Ksh 16 million into the business which he used to purchase pressing and refining machines.

“I’m now processing 90 tonnes of canola, sunflower, and soya in a year and my goal is to hit 300 tonnes, which is the capacity of our machines,” he said.

Njuguna has contracted 100 farmers who supply him with raw materials although he also grows sunflower and canola on his 10-acre farm.

“The farmers aggregate their produce at specific centers then they call us when ready to go and inspect and collect,” he added.

Other than oil products, Njuguna also makes poultry feeds and soap.

“We sell by-products of the crops to those who make livestock feeds and also make some for sale at between Ksh 40 and Ksh 45 per kilo and fo our chicken,” he said.

Oil products are packed in one, two, three,m and five litres, and go for between Ksh 280 and Ksh 1,500.

Njuguna pointed out lack of enough working capital and the high cost of electricity as some challenges that he has to deal with.

“Last September, our electricity bill shot up from an average of Ksh 30,000 per month to Ksh 420,000. We have engaged our lawyers to sort out the issue with the utility firm,” he explained.