By Betsy Ramser Jaime
‘Hi, my name is Solomon Kebeney from Kenya, Rift Valley province, Uasin- Gishu county. I am 38 years old, married, and blessed with two children. I studied for a diploma in Electrical Engineering at the Technical University of Kenya, and am now working for an electrical generating company in Nairobi city. During my free time, I enjoy playing chess, volleyball, and traveling.’
Solomon is able to diversify his income between his 9-5 job as an electrical expert and his side business in farming.
Solomon sought his first Zidisha-funded loan in May 2016, and shared, ‘I will use my loan to improve the productivity of my existing dairy cow since I have some cash to buy the second dairy cow. This amount will go for fodder feeds, dairy meals, and additional structure i.e. preparing additional feeding troughs and a cow shed for the new dairy cow.’
The following year, in 2017, Solomon prepared to expand his farm by renting additional land, preparing the land for planting, and purchasing seeds and fertilizers. He predicted that these changes would cost around $300. He continued, ‘This will ensure a constant supply of animal feeds hence constant production of milk hence more profits. Several people will benefit eventually these include, casual workers who assist in farming, milk vendors, and suppliers of farm inputs. I expect the profit margin to increase by 25% in the near future.’
Solomon’s next project in his business was to construct a storage area for his dairy feeds. This would cost him a little over $500. He predicted that his costs would include, ‘posts, wood, transport, iron sheets, cementing, doors, windows, and labor costs.’ He explained, ‘This Investment will go towards securing dairy feeds from all weather conditions. I have grown one acre of star grass which I harvest twice a year. Therefore this will ensure the availability of feeds throughout the year, hence no low seasons in milk production.’
In 2020, Solomon decided that it was time to expand into poultry. With his next loan of $670 from the Zidisha community, he purchased 200 chicks and some additional feed. At this point, he was able to work 15 days a month in his day job and 15 days working on his farm.
With his most recent loan of $634 in September 2021, Solomon shared that at the moment he had one dairy cow producing 6-8 liters a day. This allowed him to earn about $100 per month. He hoped to acquire an additional dairy cow so that he could increase his milk production to 12-16 liters per day. He also continued to gain experience from veteran farmers.
On Dec 3, 2022, Solomon proudly shared that he was up to 12-15 liters of milk per day!
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a Zidisha entrepreneur like Solomon? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to see how other business owners are changing their lives and communities around the world.
Betsy is a Writer and Editor living in Florida with her husband. She has been writing with Zidisha for 5 years and loves sharing the inspiring stories of Zidisha entrepreneurs. You can connect with her on her personal website.