WHAT COMMODITIES ARE SOLD AND IN WHAT QUANTITIES?
Foodstuffs are the most common, though some liquids can also be bought in bulk and sold in small quantities.
Amongst the foodstuff items sold in Kisumu and Migori are flour, tea, curry powder, biscuits, sweets, spices. There is no market for preserved goods as fresh vegetables and fruits are available all the year round. There is also a ready availability of fresh fish from local markets, as the area is so close to Lake Victoria.
An example of how times have changed relates to
the sugar market. Five years ago, the lowest weight packet of sugar
you could buy in a local store would be ½ kilo. In the supermarket
it would be 2 kilo. Now the industry themselves are packaging in
½ kilo bags and in the shops you can buy it in ¼ kilo
or even a few spoonfuls sold in small plastic sachets. The market
is driven by price and people who only have a few shillings to spend
per day cannot afford to buy in large quantities. They will spend
one shilling per day rather than five for a week. There is therefore
a market for small-scale re-packaging.
Similarly with liquids and some non-foodstuffs
that are daily necessities. Detergent for washing clothes
can be bought in very small sachets. Cooking fat will be bought
in bulk and then sold by measure into re-used coke or soft
drink bottles. Kerosene is also sold in this way. Household
soap is bought in bars and cut into smaller pieces.
Sweets can be bought in large packets and sold singly or packets
of two. One stall holder told me he buys sweets in packs of
240 for 40Ksh. He re-packages them in a plastic roll that
costs about 3Ksh that he makes into small sachets to contain
two sweets each. He sells the sachets for 1 ksh, making his
potential profit very good. He will sell a complete pack in
Biscuits similarly are bought in bulk and
then re-packaged by hand to be sold in smaller quantities.
Spices are also sold - cloves can be bought in packets of
two or three.