I am a horticultural farmer from Elburgon, Elburgon is a small town in Nakuru County, Kenya. It is located 30 kilometers west of Nakuru. I have been living in the Elburgon Slums for the last 15 years. Before joining GROOTS in 2014, I was a potatoes small-scale farmer practicing farming in half Acre land. Small scale farming back in those years was a rough road to most of since, there were little funds to support us and identifying a market for our harvest was also a problem leading us into the hands of mischievous brokers who would rob us of our products.
In 2015, I was mapped out with other small-scale farmer from my area and we formed Eastleigh Local Women Group. GROOTS started us off through different trainings both in our local groups and by attending more training at Egerton University. From the training we were taught on the type and size of potato seed to use in our farms, the spacing of seeds and lines during planting, the sprays to use and on potato rotation technique to increase productivity.
And after the training GROOTS Kenya came up with BNF (basic need fund), to uplift the local farmer and improve their lives. The funds were not given in cash but in kind depending on what the farmer needed to improve their farming and their produce. With my 8,500/= fund I asked for a tank since water was an issue for me at that time. I added 7,000/= to buy a bigger tank (2,750 litres) and this has helped me a lot since I don’t have to buy water anymore.
After the training and the Basic need Fund (BNF) I rented 1 Acre of land and planted 8 bags of potato seed and at the end of it I successfully harvested 44 bags. I sold my potatoes through a broker at 2,000/= per bag. For the first time in my life I held such an amount of money.
I decided to buy my own piece of plot from the profit generated from my first sale and built my residential house and also started building rental houses.
Later that year GROOTS Kenya introduced us to SEED Fund loan that aimed to provide small scale farmers with funds for their start up farms. I was among the first batch of members to take a loan from GROOTS SACCO of 100,000/= which I used to increase my farming from 1 acre to 2 acres.
With the produce from my 2 acres I was able to clear my loan in 6 months and I took another loan (100,000/=) and cleared within one year and this enabled me to finalize my 5 rental houses in the plot I had acquired earlier. I now rent the 5 houses at 2 ,000 each and this money helps me out for subsistence upkeep and to pay bank loans.
Last year I applied for a loan of 200,000 and increased my farming from 2 acres to 7 acres. In 2 acres I have planted maize and beans for rotation purposes as I had planted potatoes in the previous year. In the remaining 5 acres I have planted potatoes.
I am estimating to harvest 30 bags of potatoes from each acre and from prices as at now, I expect to sell each bag at 4,000-5,000/=. With the profits I intend to repay my second loan in time and build storey rental houses from a new plot that I just acquired.
Right now, I am not a small-scale farmer, I am a big farmer and a lady too. I am grateful for the support I have received from GROOTS Kenya and I can testify that GROOTS Kenya is out here at course to help and improve the lives of the rural women.