How Ruto’s Cooking Oil ATM Machines Will Work

Left, President William Ruto right, Mama Pima Vending Machine
Left, President William Ruto right, Mama Pima Vending Machine

It is an open secret that the 'Kadogo Economy' rules the Kenyan retail sector with data shared by global research firm Nielsen showing that over 70 percent of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) sold in Kenya are priced Ksh55 and below.

The government is keenly aware of this statistic, which might explain its decision to move forward with the implementation of the Mama Pima Salad ATM Vending Machines programme. The government maintains that the machines are specifically designed to provide cooking oil at more affordable rates compared to existing Kenyan traders.

Strategically located in key areas, the vending machines will serve as convenient one-stop shops and enable low-income households that struggle to purchase cooking oil in bulk quantities. 

The plan is to pilot the programme in major cities, before gradually expanding it to smaller towns across the nation.

Following Indonesian President Joko Widodo's State visit to Kenya on Monday, President William Ruto and his fellow Head of State were set to launch the Mama Pima Dispensing Machine at the Deputy County Commissioners in Dagoretti, but the launch was later done by CS of Trade, Moses Kuria. 

Mama Pima cooking oil vending machine
Mama Pima cooking oil vending machine

As Kenyans eagerly await the government's promise of cheaper edible oil to come to fruition, a closer look is warranted. takes a look at how the oil vending machines will work.

How It  Will Work 

The Mama Pima Vending machine will be equipped with a storage tank containing a specific quantity of cooking oil which can be refilled once it’s exhausted.  

This tank will be specifically designed to hold liquid oil and prevent spillage or leaks from cracks. The hard body structure will help ensure the machine is safe from damage in case of a fall. 

The vending machine will feature a user-friendly control panel, which could include a button layout similar to that found at petrol stations. More advanced models might incorporate a touch screen display.

Kenyans will have the convenience of queuing and interacting with the machine, allowing them to make selections for their desired type and quantity of cooking oil. 

Given the potential variety of cooking oils offered by the Kenyan government, ranging from options like olive oil to various vegetable oils, the system is designed to cater to diverse preferences. 

Kenyans will be able to choose their preferred measurement units, such as liters or milliliters, ensuring flexibility for different needs.

When the dispensing process is initiated, the machine will proceed to pump the selected amount of oil through the hose and into the container provided by the customer.

To prevent any spillage, it will be important for Kenyans to position their containers correctly beneath the dispensing nozzle and ensure a firm grip.

Upon finalising their selection, Kenyans will have the flexibility to make payments using various methods, which include widely used options like  cash and mobile money.

The machines will be positioned at specific high-traffic areas where many Kenyans can easily access them.

Ample security will also be provided to safeguard the machines from vandalism and theft. 

The Deal

Speaking while hosting his Indonesian counterpart at State House Nairobi, President Ruto emphasised that the Kenyan government is eager to facilitate Indonesian firms to invest in edible oil processing.

“Indonesia’s investment will support the Government’s efforts to ensure affordable and accessible edible oil for the majority of the Kenyan people, especially in rural areas,” Ruto said.

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has now revealed that the cooking oil will go from as lw as Ksh 10. "Kenya imports edible oils to a tune of more than 100 Billion per year, and this must stop. Together with Governors from counties that can grow oil, we have embarked on empowering farmers to plant palm oil," he noted. 

Cooking oil products on sale
A stock photo of bottled cooking oil on sale at a supermarket.