Kutus Market is among the largest markets in Kirinyaga County popular for the plenty of green bananas sold in the market.
The bananas are cultivated by small scale farmers in Gîchûgû and Kirinyaga Central constituencies
Traders mostly women buy the commodity from farmers and later ferry them to Kutus market where other traders from various parts of the county flock in hundreds to place orders and buy the produce.
Roads around here, especially the ones under national government are tarmaced, a major boost to the trade due to the ease in transportation of thousands of bunches of bananas from the farms to the market.
However, although a good number of traders use modern means of transport like boda bodas, a number of traders use carts pulled by bulls for transport.
The tarmac which is extremely rough for the animal to walk on, wears down the hooves thus the owners devised a way to protect the beasts.
They developed a special shoe for the animals to wear.
“My bull had been extensively affected until it could not walk. I could no longer earn my daily bread and this frustrated me,” Ibrahim Muriuki a trader from Gakoigo village who uses a cart pulled by a bull to eke a living told K24 Digital.
Ibrahim has been in this business for over five years. He transports various goods to and from the market.
When his bull couldn’t walk anymore given the wearing down of the hooves, he consulted a friend who was facing the same problem.
“He had designed these special shoes. I told him to sell me at least a pair at any price because I had to work to support my family. He did and showed me how to fit the shoe,” Muriuki said.
The said shoes are made using old motorcycle tires.
But unlike human shoes where laces have to go through an eyelet to tie, the bull’s lace is tied slightly above the hoof since the shoe does not have eyelets.
With the solution, Muriuki says he can make more than a thousand shillings before midday.
“The bull will be a bit uncomfortable during the early days but after sometime, there will be no challenges while fitting the shoe,” Muriuki said.
The culture of bulls wearing shoes in Kirinyaga has been embraced by farmers to an extent that if you visit Kutus Market on Mondays and Thursdays of every week, you’ll notice more bulls wearing shoes.
They are used to pull carts full of luggage or tens of bunches of green bananas.