By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Magret Phiri is the definition of a power woman! As a 30-something woman living in Lusaka, Zambia, she operates a thriving farming business, while also supporting her husband and five children.
She shares, ‘I have a small farm that I started about 5 years ago when I first acquired some personal land of my own. I am a small-scale commercial farmer, for 5 years I haven’t been in any formal employment but my crops have been able to sustain my household together with paying school fees for all of my 5 children.’
On her farm, she grows an assortment of vegetables and maize, selling to both businesses and also to individuals for themselves and their families. Magret continues, ‘I am very confident in my business as it has been sustaining my household for five years and we have never lacked anything. Because I am also in the food industry I always make salsa as there is a high demand for fresh vegetables.’
Since joining the Zidisha community in December 2020, Magret has raised a number of loans that have allowed her to continue purchasing supplies, and growing her business.
With her first loan of $10 she shared, ‘I’m grateful to be introduced to this platform. With this loan that I am applying for, I would like to stock up on pesticides and fertilizer. Right now as it is the peak of the rainy season I would like to make use of the abundant rainfall and plant many more vegetables on my farm so the fertilizers will help me with growing the crops and pesticides will protect the crops from getting damaged by insects.’
One month, and with two loans under her belt, Magret was already seeing the difference that her first Zidisha loans had made in her life, writing, ‘Good day everyone. It’s with gratitude that I write this message because Zidisha is beginning to change my life for the better. With the loan I got, I was able to get manure for my crops and I’m sure in no time they will flourish. With this next loan, I would like to get some soya beans, groundnuts, and potato seedlings to plant on my farm.’
With her following two loans, Magret was successful in renting a plowing truck and purchasing pipes and sprinklers to make watering much easier.
With a fresh year in front of her, Magret continued to look ahead and dream big towards the future. For 2021, she envisioned adding fruits and legumes to her farm. Because the pandemic has caused prices of international fruits and vegetables to skyrocket, she found that growing and selling her own locally would be a great addition to her farm.
Shortly thereafter, on January 26, Magret wrote on her discussion page and said, ‘Good day dear Lenders. I hope that all is well despite the ongoing coronavirus. All is well on my farm. I was able to get the equipment to help with the irrigation system on my farm and I’m happy to conclude that even when the rainy season comes to an end I will be able to produce fresh crops and vegetables all year round. Thank you so much for making my dream come true.’
With her most recent Zidisha funded loan of $374 in March, Magret is excited to purchase an agricultural storage tank that she can use for storing water. This way she can store up water for the remainder of the year.
Following her loan request, Magret took to her discussion page on March 7 and shared, ‘Good day dear lenders. I cannot express enough gratitude for what this platform has done for me and my farm. Looking back at the months I didn’t know I would have a fruitful harvest because of the pandemic, I was able to get more bags of manure and fertilizer with the previous loan, I am currently clearing out all the maize that has grown so that we can fertilize the land and get it ready for the plantation of potatoes and fruits for the second quarter of the year.’
Would you like to help other Zidisha entrepreneurs like Magret? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to see what other business owners are doing around the world.