By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Kipruto Kiptarus is a 23 year old Kenyan who is commonly known by the nickname Rush. He is the sixth child in his family, with 2 brothers and four sisters. Both parents are hard workers as his father is a ‘matatu’ which is a driver, and his mother is a farmer and herbalist. Throughout his life, Rush has helped her look after the livestock and fetch herbs from the forest. He even credits her for his interest in livestock farming and studying medicine for his diploma course in pharmacy. In addition, as a student he even did his research with her, comparing herbal medicines to medicine in the modern world.
In May 2014, Rush started his business with five hens and a cock. At the time, he was also pursuing his course in pharmacy. He found that even as a busy student, he still had some free time in the evenings and weekends, which he could devote to his business. With help from a carpenter, he built a poultry house and a few months later, purchased five more hens and two sheep. By October, sixty chicks had hatched, though some did not survive due to the weather conditions, limited space, and improper vaccination. As he learned and improved, his second attempt was more successful. With his earnings he was able to buy two young bulls and a secondhand motorcycle. It was then that he discovered Zidisha and was excited to learn and continue to grow his business.
For his first two Zidisha funded loans, Rush obtained $100 in September 2015 and $99 in December 2015. With these loans, he was excited to improve his livestock production by improving his structures. He chose to put up a larger poultry house to accommodate more hens and an improved facility for chicks, with lantern lamps for heat and light, feed troughs, and vaccines. He also hoped to repair the roof for his sheep house and construct a dairy house for dairy cattle. With any remaining funds, he hoped to increase his herd of sheep.
Shortly thereafter, Rush was ready to pursue a third loan in February 2016 for $198. He was ready to purchase two young bulls which would cost between $120 and $150. The remaining money would be put towards the construction of a fence for partitioning the grazing field. With this loan, he excitedly shares, ‘I am looking forward that this will contribute to my future firm investment. It will help me to further my career in medicine, for paying my fee and also supporting my parents and siblings.’
In April of 2016, Rush was prepared to expand again with a loan of $400. With this loan, he was prepared to purchase one male and one female goat. He would also need to build a dairy house for the female and one for the male. He also shared that goat milk is in high demand so there is a ready market for this.
Next, in August 2016, with a loan of $600, Rush was ready to set up an animal feed store. This loan would go towards a license, hiring, and purchasing a wide variety of animal feeds.
Most recently, Rush requested his largest loan yet in March 2017 for $1,883. He shares, ‘Drought has been a major cause of hindrance to my livestock activities and, for the past three months, my output yields have slightly declined. For this reason, I am really in need for funds to purchase animal feeds as we are eagerly waiting for the rainy season to come. This will include hay, fodder, feed mash, lick salt and also sources a means of water transport and storage tank. This will cost me $300 for the next two months. I would also like to cultivate a small land for growing hay, maize for animal fodder and nappier grass. I would also like to purchase a chaff cutter for chopping animal feeds into small sizes. It will also cost me an estimate of $250. For the remaining $300, I would like to finish building my house which is already in progress. This will enable me to move from my parents’ home to where I’ll call my home.’
Rush has continuously expanded and broadened his business since joining Zidisha. He thankfully shares with lenders, ‘My business has grown since joining Zidisha, more so in my poultry farm. Besides home consumption of eggs and selling at local centres, I am now supplying over sixty eggs weekly to various retail shops and hotels in my hometown, Kabarnet. I look forward to increasing my poultry farm and maintaining a thousand hens in my farm. With this, I will create an employment opportunity for other people. I am also looking forward to building my own house and having a family of my own in a few years to come. Thanks to Zidisha for its innovation and to generous lenders for your support.’
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