MARKET ANALYSIS FOR ALOE PRODUCTS IN SAMBURU COUNTY, KENYA
This research article analyses the socio-economic characteristics of the local communities living in Samburu County on commercialization of Aloes and their products. This study sought identify and provide information gaps on the harvesting, processing, utilization and marketing Aloe species and their products in Samburu County. The objective of this study was to assess the current status on the harvesting, processing, utilization and marketing of Aloe species in Samburu County for enhanced biodiversity and improved livelihood. Primary data was collected using two sets of semi-structured questionnaires that were administered to 44 randomly selected households involved in harvesting, processing and marketing of Aloe products. The data was analyzed for qualitative and quantitative statistics. The findings show that majority of respondents were engaged in Aloe products harvesting and marketing. The average age of respondents was 36 years. It was noted that respondents encountered challenges in the harvesting process such as long distances to collection and markets, insecurity due to bandits and wild animals, inadequate skills/technologies of proper harvesting and processing and high operating costs. High poverty levels coupled with lack of alternative sources of livelihood compelled the local communities to and in the exploitation of Aloe species and their products. The harvesters, processors and dealers were three main players in aloe products marketing chain in Samburu. Aloe Sap was the main primary products collected from Aloe species. The harvesters deliver their sap at a price of Ksh. 250 per 5litre (Ksh. 50 per litre) to primary processors who in turn process it to produce the Aloe bitter gum. The Aloe bitter gum is sold to large-scale dealers at a cost of Ksh. 200 per kilogram. It is recommended that the major players should be trained in propagation, harvesting and processing of Aloe products, encourage the local domestication and commercialization of aloe species, provided with technical support to women and youth groups to enhance their processing and entrepreneurial skills for improved production and marketing of basic aloe products.
Key Words: Aloe Sap Processing, Aloe Bitter gum, Livelihood, Value Chain