Skip to main content

The culture of using sacks, wooden crates, and containers as a measure of weight for farm produce


The culture of using sacks, wooden crates, and containers as a measure of weight for farm produce

The use of sacks, wooden crates, and containers to weigh produce. 

If you are from East Africa, particularly Kenya or Tanzania, you must have noticed that rarely do we measure the weight of farm produce using a weighing scale. Whether you are buying directly from the farmer at farm-gate, or from a wholesale markets, people always use sacks, wooden crates, or small containers to estimate the weight of produce.

In Kenya for instance, there are specially designed sacks that are used to package maize, carrots, potatoes, and onions. Maize sacks hold up to 90 kgs while for the rest of the produce it should not exceed 50kgs. It is an assumption that if packed to the brim, these sacks or crates should weigh as expected with little margin of error.

The tradition of using containers in the place of weighing scale dates for a very long time. Its adoption was based on the fact that:

  1. Farmers/buyer did not possess a weighing scale machine and hence they had to invent an equivalent,
  2. People with weighing scale machine were least trusted because they used to manipulate the machines to reflect adjusted weights. Calibration of weighing scale machine was non-existent and hence these machines were seen as ways to steal from the buyer or the seller depending on who owns the machine.

In Kenya, the lack of use of weighing machines and the use of other methods of produce weight estimation has been a subject of controversial talks especially between farmers and middlemen, but it has always ended with the farmers in the receiving end.

Use of sacks, crates, and containers has led to farmers losing almost half of their produce. As you can see from the photos here, buyers especially middlemen always add an extension to the sack or container to allow space for more produce to be packed, but the price still remains that of a 50 kg bag.\

The culture of using sacks, wooden crates, and containers as a measure of weight for farm produce

What does this practice mean to Kenya as a society and to agriculture as a value chain?

In my view, the failure to use weighing machine is an indicator of deep-rooted integrity issues among the Kenyan society especially those working along the agriculture values chains. It is hard to trust someone who is buying from/selling to you using their weighing machine especially if you don’t have your own to countercheck.  

Even though the County governments have put in place measures to issue certificates for calibrated weigh scales, the process of issuance of these certificates is seen as one of the most corruption-filled activities by county governments.  

Is short, what I want to say is that if people have good integrity, we can go back to use of weighing machines instead of sacks and crates.



  1. Splendid and timely! It's time farmers stopped being exploited.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Where to get Wambugu apples and how to grow them

The story of farming Wambugu apples in Kenya People like eating apples, but in Kenya, imported apples are very expensive and farmers are now looking for an alternative to grow apples locally, and the farming of Wambugu apples has excited many farmers in Kenya and abroad. In this article, we have gathered and reviewed some information from Wambugu Apple farm as well as from some farmers who have been growing the Wambugu apple variety in Kenya. Read also:  Dairy Goat farming with Wambugu Farmer It is said that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, but what if you could venture into the business of farming apples and keep poverty away? Think about it this way: A huge percentage of apples consumed in Kenya, almost 99% are imported from South Africa, the Middle East region, and the Mediterranean countries majorly Egypt. The price of one piece of apple fruit in Kenya goes for around $ 0.5. One kilogram of the imported apples go for up to 10 dollars. The price is very inhibitive especially th

Dairy Goat farming with Wambugu Farmer

Dairy goat farming step by step by Wambugu Farmer Dairy goat farming is an upcoming lucrative agribusiness venture, not only because of the huge prices that goat milk attracts but also because of the well-known health benefits of goat milk. My name is Wambugu Farmer, and I will take you through a few outlines that I have learnt about dairy goat farming during the past few years. I am not a direct dairy goat farmer, but my parents are. I visit them regularly and over the past five years that they have been practicing this farming, we have learnt a lot of lessons surrounding dairy goats that I am going to share with you in this article. Read also: Wambugu Apple Farm in Nyeri Kenya Watch Youtube Video:  WAMBUGU Apples Farm If you are looking forward to start dairy goats on a large scale or small scale farming, there will be something for you to learn from this article. My parents are small-scale dairy goat farmers doing around 6 goats at a time. They started this project because of th

How to make a kitchen garden in Kenya: Cone kitchen garden

  Simple steps to make a kitchen garden in Kenya This is an opportunity for every rural family to make a kitchen garden in Kenya. Just as the name indicates, a cone kitchen garden is a type of garden that resembles a cone, like that of an ice-cream holder. It consists of arranging soil in a conical shape above the ground to create more space for crop growing. Cone kitchen garden is efficient in that it allows for mixed cropping since different species of crop are grown on different layers. Materials and procedure of constructing a Cone kitchen garden in Kenya: Polythene sheet : It should be the heavy one, commonly called the dam-liner in local hardware. Alternatively, you can use old circular containers that have different circumferences in a manner that they can be concentric. Site identification : Chose a site that receives sufficient direct sunlight throughout the day and well drained. Mark the middle point of the garden site, and arrange the containers/polythene in layers, "