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Blueberry hawkers report losses

Blueberry hawkers in Nakuru city are counting losses due to lack of customers, occasioned by the Azimio opposition protesters, that has drastically reduced the number of people who visit the Central Business District (CBD) due to fears of being caught up in the skirmishes.

Faith Njoki, a fruit seller of the fast-perishable fruits, said due to increased temperatures and a lack of cooling centres or fridges, many of them have had to discard the rotten fruits.

Interviewed by Kna today at the CBD, where many of them hawk fruits, that are in season, she said they source the small, delicious fruits from Tanzania, where they are currently in plenty.

She added that the few blueberries that are grown near Lake Naivasha are mainly booked by hotels in advance, hence the need to source them from Tanzania, where they are grown in abundance.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was signed by Kenya in 2018, promised broader and deeper economic integration and has benefited food traders in Nakuru County.

Njoki, who’s a university graduate and well-informed about the free movement of goods across East Africa, said a majority of the fruits eaten in the county, including bananas, pawpaws, and oranges, are mainly imported from Tanzania.

She noted that blueberries were popular because they are packed with a powerful punch in terms of health benefits; such as antioxidants, and flavonoids, which are good for the eyes, digestion, blood sugar regulation, and skin health.

However, a nutritionist in the city David Maina, said while blueberries and other fruits are beneficial, they are just one part of a healthy and balanced diet.

He urged the residents to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to ensure they get a broad range of nutrients and other health benefits.

Also, Maina disparaged the craze of making and drinking juices and smoothies, which he noted are popularized by social media influencers, and added that whole fruits were much better because they have fiber that the body requires for digestion.

The most noticeable small-scale businesses in the city are MPesa agents and fruit sellers, which are also hawked in plastic containers, which the nutritionists termed extremely unhealthy.

By Veronica Bosibori

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