From Business Daily.
Patrick Wainaina trained as an engineer at a nut company in Kenya, studied marketing in the U.S. and learned management at a Kenyan mobile service provider, but dreamed of owning a company.
Now he owns Jungle Nuts in Kenya, exporting macadamias, cashews and peanuts to the U.S., China, and the U.K. He works with thousands of small-scale farmers and a permanent staff of 250 in Thika.
The sign near the entrance says, “Welcome to Jungle Nuts, where we are nuts about nuts,” according to an article in Business Daily.
Globally, there are less than 300 serious nuts processors, making the business lucrative due to lack of competition, Wainaina said in the article.
Wainaina was overall winner of the Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies survey organized by Business Daily in 2011, according to the article.
He plans to expand products and exports into the Middle East. New products in supermarkets soon will include macadamia butter and macadamia oil. He uses macadamia shells to make charcoal that goes by the name Jungle Brickets, according to the article.
Nuts are bought through e-buying, a technology where produce is weighed in the field and data sent to a portable PDA device that sends the results to a printer in his office.
“This technology has really improved our welfare with the farmers,” he said in the Business Daily interview. “We pay them through M-Pesa immediately we buy their produce.”
Running the business has its challenges, the biggest being smuggling. Nuts are smuggled from Kenya to China by middlemen, he said. This has robbed farmers of earnings and led to deteriorating quality of output. Another challenge is the high cost of power. His company’s monthly power bill is around $10,000, according to the article.
Read more at Business Daily.