NAIROBI , (Xinhua) — The desire to eat right and remain healthy has offered hundreds of fruit sellers in Kenya lucrative business opportunities.

The business is booming, especially in urban centers, in the East African nation as many people, both small and large-scale, venture into the trade to satisfy an increasing demand of customers who are health conscious.

A roadside fruit vendor in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

Some of the traders are selling raw fruits. Others process them into juices, while majority make salad, which is most preferred by many Kenyans.

Doctors advise that one should eat at least a fruit a day to keep diseases at bay. This is a message that Kenyans have taken diligently, thus handing a ready market to hundreds of fruit sellers.

Among the fruits popular with buyers in Kenya include pineapples, avocados, oranges, bananas, water melons, mangoes, passion fruits, paw paws, plums and apples. In the capital Nairobi , a walk in the city’s suburbs and the Central Business District shows fruit vendors are doing brisk business and that the business is one of the fastest growing, going by the number of people joining it.

Most of the fruit sellers have set up businesses in market centers, bus stops and shopping malls in upper class residential areas.

Jimmy Moseti is among hundreds of fruit vendors in the capital. Moseti, who operates a stall at Mutindwa market in Umoja, a middle- income residential area on the East of Nairobi said on Wednesday business, is booming.

“More and more people are eating and buying fruits, both men and women, the young and the old. People want to remain healthy as doctors advise,” he noted.

Moseti sells raw fruits and makes salads for his customers.

“Most of my customers, especially men prefer fruit salads, which we serve in small plates while a majority of women buy raw fruits, “ he noted. Those who buy fruit salads consume them at his stall where he has made a shade.

“Each plate of fruit salad goes for between 0.34 and 0.69 U.S.dollars. The price varies depending on the fruits one chooses,” he explained.

The plate costing 0.34 dollars has a mixture of bananas, pineapples and mangoes. On the other hand, the one costing 0.69 contains a mixture of the three, plus apples, watermelons and plums. However, depending on one’s choice, one can get a plate of salad costing 0.58 dollars.

”This one contains bananas, mangoes and either water melon or apples. The later is expensive because the fruits cost dearly. We sell a single apple at 0.34 dollars and water melons cost much higher,” he noted.

Similarly, prices of raw fruits differ depending on the size and type. Moseti sells a banana at 0.08 dollars while the least price for water melon is 0.9 dollars.

According to Moseti, most people buy fruits early in the morning, at lunch hour and in the evening.

”Many buy fruits early in the morning on their way to work, which they take in the course of the day, and in the evening on their way home. However, there are some who buy between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., which they take for lunch,” observed Moseti, who together with his brother run another fruit business in Upper Hill, a commercial district on the outskirts of Nairobi central business district.

Like Moseti, many other traders in various suburbs, are experiencing growth in their business.

“It is now a dry season, when fruits are in high supply. Most of those in season are bananas, pineapples and mangoes. People are buying them in great demand because prices have also gone down,” said Beatrice Mburu, a fruit vendor in Komarock.

She noted that sometimes the business is affected with shortage of fruits.

”In September, October and November last year, our businesses suffered because not many people were buying fruits. Prices of most commodities were high and we were importing some of the fruits from Uganda ,” she said.

Then, a survey by USAID indicated that Kenyans were eating less fruits and vegetables due to the high costs. The report noted fruit consumption in the East African nation had declined in volume and value due to high inflation that stood at 15 per cent.

”The value of consumed fruits declined by 25 per cent. The declines are attributed to escalating costs of basic commodities due to recent inflation,” the report said.

The drop in volumes negatively affected hawkers, who are the primary vendors of fruits, vegetables among other groceries in the East African nation. According to Ministry of Agriculture, prices of most fruits in Kenya have dropped.

A bag of ripe bananas currently goes for 8.1 dollars, mangoes at 20 dollars, oranges and avocados at 34 dollars and passion fruits at 44 dollars.

Therefore, things are back on track for vendors, with prices of fruits dropping and many of them seeking to attract both low and high-end consumers. Moseti and Mburu said they make between 46 and 69 dollars each day from their fruit businesses.

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