By Betsy Ramser Jaime
“My vision is to empower many jobless youths to embrace farming hence eradicating poverty.”
Joel Kandie is a hardworking Kenyan from a large family with 7 children. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and is currently a horticulturist by profession. In addition to his day job, he has been able to construct a greenhouse on the side and also opened an Agrovet shop where he sells farm inputs and agrochemicals. Joel has been running his business for several years selling agricultural farm inputs and equipment and he shares that so far it is running well. As more and more youth are venturing into agribusiness, the demand for his products has continued to increase.
He also has a passion for working with charitable organizations in his community and reading inspirational books. One of his favorites is, “Understanding Your Potential” by Dr. Myles Munroe. He says, ‘I would like to be an employer and help create employment opportunities to both graduates and non graduates.’
With 6 Zidisha funded loans, Joel has been able to steadily grow his business since starting with Zidisha in 2014. With his first loan of $150, he set forth to lease a greenhouse at $20 per month. He also purchased some planting materials. He projected that at first revenue would be $230 a month and expenses would total $140 a month. However, he predicted that after the upfront costs, the expenses would later on be cut in half.
By the end of 2014, Joel was prepared for his next loan. This loan went towards purchasing seeds. Wanting to diversify his crops, he purchased some in demand seeds such as, ‘onions, garlic, and tomatoes’ and also planned to introduce some new ones including strawberries and cucumbers. He’d had customers requesting these items but did not yet have them available for purchase.
As he continued to grow, he set his eyes on his bigger vision as he shared, ‘My main aim is to expand my small scale greenhouse to commercial farming which will enable me employ people hence create employment to my fellow graduates.’
A third Zidisha funded loan, in July 2015, enabled Joel to buy additional farm equipment, inputs, and agrochemicals. In addition, by expanding and growing his business, this also created the need for an additional worker. Before opening his business, farmers in his area had to travel 50 km to purchase these products. He also hoped to create a competitive advantage by training the local farmers, which is not something offered by competitors.
As 2016 rolled around, Joel was ready to start the year with a $655 loan from Zidisha lenders. With this loan he continued to expand his stock of farm tools, equipment, agrochemicals, fertilizers, veterinary drugs, and animal feeds. He shared more about his trainings as he explained, ‘I will also commit my time to offer after sale services like farmers trainings, farm visits, farm demonstrations and follow ups. As I am a professional in the field of agriculture I will have an advantage over my competitors because I will organize farmers seminars and workshops to train farmers on better methods of farming hence improving their living standards through agriculture because agriculture is the main economic activity in this area.’
For his fifth Zidisha funded loan, Joel was able to raise $1,022 from lenders in September 2016. He explains, ‘Due to the fact that many farms are located in remote areas where road infrastructure is bad I am seeking funding to buy a motorcycle to transport agricultural farm inputs and equipment to farmers. It will cost me approximately $1,100 to buy the motorcycle.Therefore with the $1,014 loan I am requesting together with my personal savings I will own a motorcycle. A motorcycle will help me reach many farmers unlike my competitors hence selling more products thus increasing profit. To farmers I would have saved them long distances of tracking in search of farm inputs. Conducting farmers training, farm visits and farmers workshops will be reliable and convenient thus benefiting farmers. I expect a net profit increase of approximately 15% because I will have an advantage over my competitors as I will be able to meet many farmers. With the profit together with my monthly salary of $300 I will be able to repay the loan.’
Most recently, in February 2019, Joel raised, $1,138 from Zidisha lenders to help him prepare for planting season. As this is the most important time of the year for his business, Joel knew that he needed to increase his supply of inputs and seeds. He also was prepared to hire an additional worker, bringing his total to 3 employees. The remainder of the loan went towards rent, electricity, and fuel.
On February 14, 2019, Joel shared this inspiring update with his lenders, ‘First and foremost I’m so grateful for your continued support as l grow my business. I used my last loan to buy a motorcycle that helped me a lot to reach many farmers in remote areas where road infrastructure is a challenge. This resulted in a profit rise by approximately 10%. I was able to compete well with other businesses as I had an advantage of accessing many farmers who they have not been reached before. Thanks once again and May God bless you abundantly.’
Would you like to empower another entrepreneur like Joel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about our other amazing Zidisha business owners.