By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Peter Lukoye is the firstborn child in a family of five. Throughout his childhood, he continued his education all the way through primary school to college.
He shares, ‘In business, I started farming when I was very young and was inspired by my Grandfather. I raised chickens which paid my school fees and had some left for my pocket money. Because of my passion for farming, I live in a culture where people depend on farming, but they don’t do it smartly, and I want to be a solution and let them know and see that farming is a business, not just a way of life.’
After a few years in farming, Peter believes that he is finally seeing the fruits of his labor. Initially, he began with poultry farming and then moved on to dairy cows. He currently has 500 layers and 250 chicks. Once he expanded into dairy farming, he purchased four heifers and three bulls.
Through his farming business, he is able to support his family and support the less fortunate in his community. He also has two sisters, one in high school and the other in university and with his business, he is able to help pay their school fees.
Since joining the Zidisha community in 2015, Peter has raised nine Zidisha-funded loans. Starting out, he raised an initial loan of $100 to increase his number of chickens as he was seeing a rise in demand from his customers. He also saw an opportunity to hire an employee part-time to help out.
With his next loan of $352, he explained, ‘With the proposed amount I want to buy an incubator to hatch the eggs that I get from the farm. The small incubator goes at 300 dollars and this will hatch between 60-100 eggs per three weeks. For the remaining 50 dollars I will buy a brooder to keep the chicks. With this available I will increase my profit since I will not only be selling eggs or chickens but also selling chicks to other farmers at 1 dollar per one-a-day-old chick. With all this set I will make a profit of 7 dollars daily in addition to my current profit. Thanks, Zidisha for making my dream come true.’
The following year, in 2016, Peter continued to see big changes in his business. He successfully raised two loans for $504 and $755. With the first loan, he purchased a variety of building materials and also bought feeds, vaccines, feeding troughs, and drinkers. With the second loan, he installed a concrete floor and also built a storage facility for his feeds. At this point in his business, he was also able to employ one full-time worker and two part-time employees.
The next year, from August 2019 to July 2020 was a big year for Peter and his business. He raised 3 substantial Zidisha-funded loans for $812, $1,056, and $1,214. With the first he expanded his dairy structure to allow for additional cows and calves. With the second loan, he purchased 10 young bulls and also bought vaccines and additional feeds. Finally, with his third loan, he prepared to purchase enough feed to get him through the following three months.
Peter shares, ‘With my farm already in operation I am already have a steady income from milk and eggs. Covid-19 has been a lesson to me and during the first lockdown in our country everything went to a standstill and we struggled, but it was a learning experience now I had to do value addition to my products especially milk and I also bought a refrigerator for storage. I also organized for home delivery for the products using a secondhand motorcycle that I purchased. And so I am good to go with this at my disposal.’
Most recently, in December 2022, Peter decided to add something new to his business by stocking clothing in his shop including dress-making materials and children’s clothing.
In describing his mission with his business, Peter says, ‘I hope to empower and transform the community through this. Thanks, Zidisha family.’
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a Zidisha entrepreneur like Peter? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to see how other business owners are changing their lives and communities.
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.