By Betsy Ramser Jaime
As the eldest of three children, Rio Dahlil grew up with one brother and one sister in a rural village in Indonesia. Education was important in his family as both of his parents are retired teachers. He shares, ‘My childhood is not really difficult. I passed primary, secondary and tertiary school without financial difficulty. Even though my parents income was not big, we were still considered economically fortunate in our society.’
In his hometown, many people are rubber tree tappers and the economy is lacking development. Rio continues that, ‘Finding a good job and earning a good salary are difficult even though somebody might have high education level.’
While Rio is currently working for a chemical company outside his home province, he has a big dream of returning to his village to become an entrepreneur in order to help develop the local economy.
Slowly and surely, he and his brother are working hard to make this dream happen as they together manage around 17 acres of land. He shares that they plan to integrate farming and livestock and already have a few goats.
For now, Rio has a great balance as he is able to continue his job as a Chemical Production Operator earning a salary of around $446 USD per month, while also growing his business on the side. He is even able to save 50% of his salary!
Rio explains his progress and plans as he shares, ‘We have also planted some fruits and jabon trees, a kind of fast growing tree. I am interested in cultivating this tree since it grows straightly, and rapidly and can be harvested in a sustainable way since a new bud can grow after the main body of the tree being cut down. Currently, we are focusing on increasing our forage production. We plan to utilize the space left between jabon trees by planting indigofera and mott grass. Then we will continue it to space between palm oil tree plantation. My parents have six hectares of palm oil tree plantation. The land is less productive since many palm oil trees are fruitless. I plan to diversify the vegetation within it with indigofera, mott grass and setaria grass. Palm oil trees are planted with a space of 9 m. It means there is still plenty space for forage.’
So far, Rio has successfully raised four loans with Zidisha. In 2017, his first two loans of $77 and $277 were combined to purchase one hectare of land. With this land, he would be able to plant 100 seeds comprised of cemedak seeds, soursoup seeds, and avocado seeds.
Later in 2017, Rio raised his next loan of $515 to be put towards wire fencing for his land. He explains, ‘The periphery of the land is about 320 m. The price of the wire fence is 11.54 USD/20 m. The price of white jabon seed is around 0.38 USD. I plan to grow the seeds with a space of 5 m, so I can grow around 240 seeds in a total area of 6000 square meter (60 m x 100 m).’
As Rio continued to build momentum, he used his most recent loan of $860 in November 2017 to purchase a vast array of seedlings. Then, the remainder of the loan was put towards buying goats, building his shelter, and transportation costs. The seedlings included: jabon, indigofera, and mangrove. He also shares that one goat is priced around 90 USD. A few months later, in February, Rio was proud to share that the goat shelter was completed!
On May 17, Rio shared this exciting update with some great photos, ‘Hi lenders, these are the latest updates of my project. Planting of indigofera seedlings have been started We will continue on increasing our forage production for several months to come. We will fill the space between the jabon trees with forage and then continue it to an palm oil tree plantation. A total area of 6.6 hectares (around 16 acres) will be planted.’
So far, Rio has made incredible progress towards his dream. With the growth of each seedling, he is able to see his vision come to fruition right before his eyes.
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