Farming is back-breaking work. But it’s been a life-changer for Alice.
For many years, she operated a small shop in town. The long hours made it hard, profits were thin, and taxes were high. Worst of all, she rarely saw her three children. But she and her husband had some land and a few livestock, and so she decided to take up farming fulltime to be closer to home.
It was then that a neighbor told her about Musoni Kenya, a microfinance institution that provides digital loans designed with Grameen Foundation for small-scale farmers. She joined a Musoni women’s group, and took out her first loan. She started off with 5 chickens, then 50 and now has almost 200—producing more than five trays of eggs a day.
Alice says that the terms of the loan—no repayments until her chicks had matured and were laying eggs—allowed her to repay it without problems.
Since then, she has expanded her farm with dairy goats, rabbits and guinea fowl, and grows maize, beans, cowpeas and vegetables that the family consumes at home.
Now, life is different.
“I am happy about where I am. Before, I had to ask my husband for money, but now I can run my business without borrowing money from him. My children are well taken care. I am motivated to do more because I am assured of a source of capital.”
And her family has enough healthy food to eat.
“Now that I am farming, I have a granary full of food. she says.
Not having to buy food not only enables Alice stretch her income, but she also says it helps protect her health from the harmful misuse of pesticides. “I don’t have to buy vegetables anymore. I grow my own food, I am responsible for its quality.”
Alice has used her success to help other women. She is the treasurer of her Musoni client group, which meets every Monday at the Kaani market. “We keep influencing other women to join groups, take loans from Musoni so that they can also benefit.”
In Kenya, women like Alice receive only a tiny fraction of agricultural loans. Grameen Foundation developed a special agricultural loan with Musoni Kenya that enables farmers to request and receive loans digitally, with repayment terms that match farmers’ incomes. Women have received 55 percent of the loans.
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