199 installments • 10%
My name is Joseph Kiragu, am 32 years old, married and a dad to 3 children; Marsha, Adan and Venus. I was born in a small town in Kenya called Nanyuki and attended local public schools through my education up to university where I got a government scholarship to study Mechanical Engineering.
My late father was a farmer while my mother was a housewife. We didn't have much but through the meager earnings from our farm, we made it through each day. My wife and I met at the university and got married shortly after our graduation.
Unemployment in our country has been a big problem for many years and with a strong determination to grow ourselves, we started a small school transport business. We chose this type of business because I had inherited a van from my late father. We started with a few children from neighboring estates taking them to local private schools. The business has grew amidst challenges but we have managed to stay afloat, break even and have a bit of reserve.
The transport business served us well for a couple of years and my wife and I are very grateful to the Zidisha community for the support particularly through the two loans that we got to finance operations of our business. I regret not being able to pay the loans within the set time but we are happy we finally managed to pay off the entire loans.
We sold the van along with the transport business and invested in a 7.5 acre farm in Nyeri County, about 150km north of Nairobi (Kenya's capital). We grow a wide range of vegetables that we sell in the capital. The business had a few challenges at the start but with time it has grown from just my wife and myself to three additional employees. We have also started a poultry business unit so that we include eggs in our products. The climate sometimes gets very dry so we have invested in dripline irrigation and two water reservoirs with a total water storage capacity of 1.2 million liters.
We also have one small seedling propagation green house from which we propagate seedlings for our farm.
My income comes from the farming business. It's called Lusoi Hill Farm named after Lusoi Hill on whose slope the farm is located. We have a farm house, and two extra houses in which our three employees Bob, Aron and Brian leave.
I am also employed as a salesman and this really helps as it helps capitalize the business and support the family as well in addition to the revenue we get from our farming business (Lusoi Hill Farm - or LHF for short).
We grow Potatoes, Cabbages, Onions, Cucumbers, Capsicums and Beetroot. Nairobi has a population of 4.4 million people and a subsequent huge demand for fresh vegetables. Our farm is 150km or 3 hours away from Nairobi making it relatively close and in a good position to serve the vegetables demand.
Our revenue is earned weekly due to our planting program that enables us to have a steady harvest of vegetables. We sell directly to consumers in Nairobi through our home delivery service. We market our vegetables online through WhatsApp, our Facebook and Instagram pages. We have a small mini-van with a load capacity of 350kg that we use to do the home deliveries. Our revenue ranges from $130 ( Kes. 20,000) to $150 (Kes.30,000) a week. We have plans to grow this revenue by scaling our production and marketing our home delivery services to more customers.
We have production costs which are both fixed costs, largely Bob, Aron and Brian's salaries along with a consultant agronomist who visits our farm every two weeks. The rest are variable costs which are costs of inputs like seeds, fertilizer, agro-chemicals, and irrigation fuel. Our overhead costs are logistical costs of delivering produce to our customers and bringing inputs to the farm.
Our business has helped us secure our children's school fees, pay rent and have a decent life. We have also reinvested a lot of the profits back into the business to help grow it.
We would really appreciate any help we can get from lenders to grow our business. Our key growth areas are;
1. Developing an e-commerce platform to help us reach more customers and improve their online shopping experience. We already have a website, (www.lusoihillfarm.com), but a mobile app would be better as it is more user friendly.
2. We would like to have a bigger van, that can carry up to 1500kg to help us make more deliveries in a single trip. This will save us fuel cost and improve our delivery time.
3. We would like to improve our produce store by adding a cold room. This will help us preserve the freshness of the vegetables and allow us to make home deliveries over several days.
4. We would like to lease a bigger farm to allow more room to scale our production.
We cant do all the above growth projects at at go but we are willing to take each step at a time.
I want to buy onion hybrid seeds and start onion farming. I have the farm ready, with dripline irrigation already set up. I have a team of 5 including an agronomist.
Onion farming is very profitable because onions are the most frequently used vegetables. Onions have a long shelf life and ca be marketed over a long period of time.
Pay It Forward
Aug 22, 2023