To some, used coconut husks are trash. They litter beaches at the Coast region and roadsides. Some Shanzu residents have seized the opportunity and turned them into a money-minting business.
James Mwandoe popularly known as JJ in Shanzu sales non-matured coconut also known as madafu, to tourists and normal beach revellers at the beaches in Shanzu and he says the business of coconut trash earns him more than what he gets from selling madafu.
The fact that the region experiences acute shortage of charcoal after the government banned logging, JJ gets orders for the husks from many hotels in Shanzu, Bamburi and Mtwapa, where they are used for cooking as firewood.
“These husks burn better than the usual firewood. I get orders everyday from small hotels and I supply them in Mwtapa and Bamburi. Those who cook beans and green grams prefer them because they are economical,” said JJ.
He adds: “ Despite being trash, with people littering the ocean and beaches after consuming its juice, I sell three husks at Sh 50.”
JJ also uses the husks to clean the legs of tourists after they come from the beach sands and for that service he charges Sh20 per person. From all these, he says he pockets at least Sh2,000 a day during off-peaks and sometimes as high as Sh5,000 a day during peak days.