Peanut butter ban boosts group

Onja Utamu peanut butter manufactured by Twaweza Women with Disabilities CBO. /PILI CHIMERAH
Onja Utamu peanut butter manufactured by Twaweza Women with Disabilities CBO. /PILI CHIMERAH

One’s misfortune can indeed turn out to be another’s fortune.

A homemade peanut butter brand is reaping from the misfortune of renown brands that have been suspended due to high aflatoxin levels.

Onja Utamu peanut butter manufactured by Twaweza Women With Disabilities, a Community Based Organisation in Mombasa, is selling fast.

The group’s executive director Charity Chahasi said the ban slapped on the brands has been a blessing to their business.

The CBO comprises of 12 disabled women but has opened its doors to three disabled men.

Chahasi said she is hopeful for more clients to help grow their business.

The peanut butter project started in 2016 after undergoing a lot of challenges.

With two machines, the group packages a one kilo container that goes for Sh700, 500g for Sh400, 100g at Sh100 and 60g at Sh50.

They have just received an order of 12 cans for each of the sizes from a client who previously sold a suspended brand.

The number of inquiries has also gone up for both distributors and consumers.

When they started the business in 2016, they went for a month without striking a sale and almost gave up.

However the business started picking up and they started receiving orders from various clients after every two weeks.

Coming up with an attractive brand name was a challenge but they finally settled on Onja Utamu (Taste Sweetness).

With all the members being disabled and determined to take their business to a much higher level, they face a challenge of mobility when it comes to delivering orders.

“We have a challenge of mobility, only if we would have our own car or even a Tuk Tuk which will help us deliver our products, it would make our work easier,” said Chahasi.

Their initial target market was the local community who bought one or two containers but they are now getting orders from supermarkets and hotels which buy in wholesale.

Kenya Bureau of Standards has seized all peanut butter of Jetlak foods limited and suspended permits of two other brands after samples confirmed the level of aflatoxin is higher than the maximum limit.

In the last seven months, Kebs has been undertaking market surveillance of peanut butter.

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