Ordinary Kenyan products fetching the most in international markets
Kenyan products have often been loved and welcomed not only in the East African region but also globally. From life-changing innovations like mobile money transfer to the national anthem, the world continues to marvel and enjoy.
As the norm, or probably dictated by the local environment, some of these products are not duly appreciated by locals but fetch high prices in international markets.
Kenyans.co.ke took a look at some of these products that are ordinary household goods that cost a fortune in international markets.
Hand-woven sisal bags, known as kiondo.
the Kiondo is used locally when shopping, especially with those who fetch fresh produce from the market. The basket-shaped bag, often made from sisal, costs between Ksh 500 and Ksh 2,000 depending on whether you buy it at a local market or in uptown.
However, while on duty in London, a Kenyan journalist came across Kiondos sold in the British capital. Retaining the same structure but made from leather, the carry bag retailed for 65,000 Ksh (450 EUR).
The design was also incorporated by Italian fashion house Balenciaga, which put a price tag of 226,000 Ksh (2,000 USD) on the bag.
A mutura salesman at work.
Boerewors are simply pieces of ground or minced beef wrapped in a thin, elastic, edible wrap. However, in Kenya the meat is stuffed into the small intestine of a slaughtered animal. Muturais grilled over regulated heat and served best with a pinch of blackness.
The local delicacy has also gained popularity on foreign soil, especially in the United States of America (USA). Speaking during an interview with Dare abroadJohn Kamau Karanja noted that the snack was in high demand at his Seattle-based business Lims Nyama Choma.
While Mutura costs as low as Ksh 20, the minimum one would have to part with is between Ksh 560 and Ksh 11,300 ($5-$100) in the United States. Karanja also sells roast meat and other Kenyan delicacies. He added that the company pays well as long as one commits to the cause.
“Most scammers like me fit in very well here as opposed to rich people because this is where I got my first million Ksh so I can say this is a great opportunity for those who are determined “, he noted.
An image of a variety of Maasai shukas
Presumably almost every household has a checkered shawl, mostly in red, known as Maasai Shuka. Sometimes used as a clothing accessory, the shuka is the ideal outfit for those who want to stay warm without having to carry blankets.
On average, one costs between 400 Ksh and 1,500 Ksh depending on the quality, detail and manufacturer. Often used by the Maasai community as a bandage, the shuka gained traction globally and was, at one point, almost patented by foreign companies.
A piece of fabric would cost upwards of 3,300 Ksh (33 USD) worldwide, subject to availability.
An image of Mukombero on sale in Nairobi
Mukombero, the root of the Mondia Whitei plant, is often peddled along Kenyan streets at around Ksh50 to Ksh100 for a bouquet consisting of around ten stems of the plant. Famous for its pale white color, the plant is shunned by many who prefer to buy it incognito due to the myths associated with the stem.
However, the plant is said to have several nutritional benefits, including helping to cure the flu, boosting mental performance, lowering blood sugar, boosting immunity, containing anti-aging properties and, of course, a natural aphrodisiac.
The plant is appreciated internationally, consequently attracting a group of Kakamega farmers who tapped into the multi-million market. As part of the Kakamega Natural Forest Catchment Conservation Organization (KANFCCO), the farmers have signed an agreement with a French company, Man Fields, which will see them export 100 tonnes of roots overseas.
In the UK the stem is ground into a powder or sold as capsules. A box of 100 capsules costs around Ksh4,336.38 (£28).
A local drink made from natural ingredients, Muratine is a drink that was originally reserved for traditional ceremonies such as weddings and thanksgiving. Notably, Kenyans are slowly turning to the drink, with some saying it has little to no side effects.
Although vendors of the drink are not as readily available, the drink is still available, retailing at Ksh 500 per five liter bottle. Known for his sense of entrepreneurship, a Kenyan, King’ori Wambaki, brews and sells the natural drink to revelers in London.
Wambaki made it a favorite for the people of Chestnut. He packs the drink, nicknamed Murateliasuch as the honey-spiced wine which it sells for between Ksh1,491 (£10) and Ksh3,871 (£25) depending on whether it’s sold at counters, retail stores or restaurants.
The other most expensive products in the foreign market are traditional vegetables, including black shadow (mangagu), traditional milk (Mursik), calabashes, jikos and other artifacts.
A bottle of Muratelia in an advertisement posted on the company’s website