An ordinary prescription by a mother to her son has turned out to be key project to mint money. Abraham Luvonga, 28, was given a concoction of rosellea and told "ni dawa ya kusafisha damu" (It is a blood cleanser).
"As a food technology student, I got interested. I was in second year then at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)," says Luvonga. The 'concoction' has opened both academic and economic doors for him. He did research on the rosella juice for his project at the undergraduate level before embarking on a deeper research for his masters of science degree on the same plant. Luvonga did not stop there. He has turned the findings of his research into a money minting business venture by adding value to the juice.
"The rosella calyces are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that prevent diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. It has great potential for technological application in the food and textile," says Luvonga at his incubation centre at JKUAT.
Economically, he is able to make juice, wine and herbal tea which is sold in clean packed bottles. "We are growing as a company. We now have four full time employees and all of them are graduates," he says. He has spread his rosella expertise to farmers in Trans Nzoia (where he hails from) and Kirinyaga County. Luvonga's love for rosella is not over.
"It has very high nutritional, medicinal and economic value," says Luvonga. He is now set to study the rare crop at PhD level. Luvonga, another story of a young man making it in Agribusiness…