Inside Kenyan Firm Converting Pineapple Waste to Ksh6,900 Shoes


A Kenyan firm, PineKazi, has been in the international headlines for converting post-harvest pineapple leaves to manufacture footwear.

The brand currently buys pineapple suckers from farmers at Ksh15 per sucker and converts the leaves to pulp which creates fibre used in the textile industry.

Based on the insight provided by the founders, a pair of shoes requires around 16 suckers to complete, with the final product retailing at Ksh6,900. However, for wholesale prices, the company sells them at Ksh5,600.

A photo of the founders of Pine Kazi after participation in the Fashionomics Contest

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Pine Kazi

According to the brand founders, Yvonne Awour, Angela Nzomo, and Michael Langat, the product is predominantly handmade, a labour-intensive and time-consuming process.

When questioned about the company’s motivation, the CEO emphasised their goal of establishing a sustainable fashion brand while simultaneously providing job opportunities for Kenyan youths.

“Annually about 766 million tonnes of post-harvest pineapple leaves are usually produced and they are burnt or chemically decomposed,” said Pine Kazi’s CEO and co-founder, Olivia Awuor.

“So, by collecting this waste, for every 1,000 tonnes of waste we collect, we reduce carbon and methane emissions by 0.28 metric tonnes,” she said.

The firm has since gained international recognition and won various awards in 2023.

Pine Kazi was honoured as part of the top six African startups on the African continent that is creating measurable and positive impacts towards sustainable development goals, in Lusaka Zambia.

The firm also won the Hult Prize Summit in Nairobi before proceeding to compete in Paris, France in August 2023.

However, the running of the firm is not without its challenges as the organisation faces challenges associated with startups.

In a previous interview, the firm’s CEO, Yvonne Awour Okinyi, stated that the firm encountered challenges in its operational management such as financing issues to invest in the expansion of the company.

She further revealed that the firm which requires a heavy presence of research and development was yet to develop such capabilities, despite its plans for expansion for other products.

A photo of the shoes and pineapple fibre used to manufacture them by Pinekazi, a Kenyan innovative firm

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PineKazi





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