Never had I thought I will be an exhibitor at the prestigious Nairobi International Show. I have had a long interaction with the show, but as a student or an ordinary visitor.
Last week, I informed you about the rare invite I got from the judges to exhibit my bull, which I co-own with Ken.
The bull impressed the judges and it was shortlisted as one of those whose costs to the show would be catered for by the organisers.
The mere thought of attending the show as an exhibitor was exhilarating. It was more exciting for Ken, my co-owner, and Muchiri, the farm boy. Muchiri was particularly interested at the trip to Nairobi more than anything else.
This trip reminded me of my primary school days where we competed to be members of the 4K Club (Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya) just to earn a ticket to the local show. This recurred at secondary school where I joined Young Farmers Club. At the show, early this week, I realised so much has changed.
The organisers had fulfilled part of their bargain and transported our bull now famously known in Mashambani as “The undertaker”. This bull has been doing us proud for the natural insemination service it has been rendering to Mashambani small-scale farmers.
Muchiri and Ken had a difficult time taming it as it has insatiable appetite to break fences. At the show, we found metallic fences but still the two young men were sweaty throughout the day trying to keep it in its paddock.
When the judges clad in white aprons and caps came to our paddock, I realised Mr Otieno, who came to our farm, stood away from them and never made any comment as the others asked questions.
The governor was part of the delegation. “At 1,300kg and three years of age, The Undertaker, is quite a winner,” the judge commented. Looking at us in the face, the governor said, “I will get time to discuss this bull. Good job.”
An hour later, The Undertaker was declared the champion. No sooner had this announcement rang across the show than our stall was swarmed by visitors.
Several people wanted to buy but the prices they were offering were too little. “Our price is Sh500,000. No negotiations,” I politely told an elderly man who keenly inspected the bull.
Another lady, in her 50s whom I think I have seen on TV but cannot remember who she was, came next, men in black in tow. “Young men, this country needs people like you. Kwani you feed this bull on GMOs?” I was hesitant to reply drawing from experience with GMO debates.
“Anyway, how much is this one?” she asked. “Sh650,000. Then you get your transport from here,” I answered. “Can I give you a cheque, then I will send someone.”
“In fact, it’s cheaper than the one that was sold recently in Nakuru, which was even smaller and older,” she added. “But I believe we can negotiate further,” she said.
But at this time, Ken interrupted. “Mkulima, you forgot the price changed. It is Sh1 million. The price you are giving Mama was before it was declared champion,” Ken insisted.
An argument ensued, the lady was advised by her aide to proceed and come back later when we had finally agree on the price.
“Mkulima, unaharibu biashara. Governor amekuwa hapa akasema anarudi. Halafu uuze Ndume Sh650,000,” yelled Ken. I hit back arguing that even the Sh500,000 offered earlier would be a super profit for us.
“Mkulima listen,” Ken said as he pulled me aside.
“Wacha tungoje Governor, unasikia vile wananunua vitu mamillion,” he started convincing me.
“But Ken, this is the best deal, we won’t get another deal like this,” I said to him.
“Wachana na hawa brokers wa Dagorreti slaughter house. They want to buy and sell it at double price to the governor,” he added.
“Shida yako husomi magazeti. Husikii vile Governors wananunua vitu mamilioni. He will buy this bull at more than Sh1 million. Use common sense,” asserted Ken.
I was almost losing this battle. But behind my mind, I could tell the governor was just impressed but never indicated he was interested in buying The Undertaker.
Just at that moment, a middle-aged man came along. I normally see him on the business segment on TV but again his name never clicked in my mind. All I know is that he is a chief executive officer of some company that recently made some millions of shillings in profit.
“This is the champion? Ooh how much?” he asked in a gentleman’s mien. “Sh1 million,” shouted Ken. “This is quite ridiculous. I thought it was something like Sh350,000 or about Sh400,000,” he replied, throwing a glance to the effect that we don’t know what we are doing.
“There have been offers almost double that amount. In any case, the governor is yet to give his offer,” said Ken in a feel good tone. The CEO of the unknown company continued… “I am not sure in Kenya we have a bull that will go for Sh1 million. That would be a stallion from England. Maybe from Netherlands or Denmark.”
“It is Sh1 million. If you can take it before the governor, it is fine. Would you sell something at a cheaper price when someone can buy it at a higher price?” Ken seemed to reason. ‘Mmmhhhh! It makes some sense…. Good luck,” the CEO said as he moved to the next paddock.
It was now approaching 6.30pm. The doors started to be closed and the phone number the governor’s PA gave us was endlessly busy.
“You have to now wind up. The show is over,” an announcement came through. As you read this, we are back in Mashambani with our Undertaker. The governor’s phone has never gone through.