By Betsy Ramser Jaime
John Oloo Omolo, is a 34 year old Kenyan Accountant with a passion for farming. He was born into a large family as the seventh child of eight! After successfully completing both primary and secondary school, he made his way to the Vision Institute of Professionals where he received his accounting training. He shares, ‘For the last four years I have been practicing modern farming where I have been growing high value crops in our area, like tomatoes, onions, water melons and capsicum.’
As a busy side hustling entrepreneur, John has had his share of ups and downs. His biggest struggle initially was the challenge of maintaining a water source for his garden. While his water supply had been sufficient during the rainy season, once it was over, his water supply was limited.
The solution for John turned out to be a water pumping system! And because of his amazing Zidisha lenders, he’s been able to keep making steady progress in his side business. Starting out with Zidisha, John had 3 ambitious goals. First, he hoped to purchase a solar water pumping system. Second, he intended to install a water harvesting dam. And third, he wanted to purchase a 5,000 liter tank for water storage and irrigation.
While he knew it would take steady and consistent work to make his dream a reality, John began with a $100 Zidisha funded loan from lenders in February 2015. In the previous year, he had planted watermelons and onions but was unhappy with his harvest due to the lack of water. He hoped that in the future he would be able to expand his harvest.
He shares, ‘My water source for this project will come from rain and I also want to build a water reserve tank of 20,000 litres and irrigation pipes to ensure that I have adequate water source for my project. In the future I would like to acquire my own land as I like farming and employ jobless people to work on the farm and improve the food production in the area as it is scarce in the dry spell, and very expensive if available.’
After putting his first Zidisha funded loan to good use, John went to his discussion page and shared this update with his lenders, ‘I am very grateful to my lenders and the Zidisha family that have given me this memorable opportunity that I would like to share with joy and gratefulness. With this amount that I have received I plan to purchase drip irrigation pipes and a drum that I will use to irrigate on onions that I will plant in my farm. The dripping pipes will ensure that the onions I will plant will receive adequate water and also help me save on water. The drum will help me as a point supplying through the dripping pipes. Thank you again lenders.’
In terms of John’s costs and profits, he explains, ‘A case of tomatoes goes for $40.69, a sack of groundnuts goes for $139.53, and onions go for $23.25 and 1kg melon goes for $1.74. The tomatoes farm preparations and requirements cost $232.55 and the output will fetch $2,325.58. Onions preparations will cost $116.27 and the harvest will fetch $1,744.18. Groundnuts will cost $93.03 and the harvest will fetch $930.23. The melons will cost $58.13 and the harvest will fetch $1,395.34. To prepare one and a half acres of land I would spend $23.25 on seeds, $55.23 to plough, $46.50 to weed, $58.13 for manure, $116.27 for labour, pies for irrigation $232.55, $465.11 for water tank reserve, with all this in place I will be able to produce affordable farm produce and create work in our village.’
Since his first Zidisha funded loan, John has raised 3 additional loans, allowing him to continue working towards his farming goals. During his most recent loan proposal, he explained to lenders, ‘I purpose to acquire farming equipment’s a solar water pumping system, install a rain water harvesting dam and a 5,000 Liters tank for water storage and use for drip irrigation. I would also want to have drip pipes in my farm to ensure my farm works efficiently and there is no wastage of water. Part of the loan will also use it for payment of wages and buying seed, pesticides and insecticides.’
Upon receiving his most recent loan, in May 2019, John was able to purchase seeds, pay for labor, and buy some farm equipment. He has been learning the best practices in modern farming and he appreciates that he now has an additional stream of income. And as of June, John has also purchased a solar pump that he can now use to irrigate his garden!
He says, ‘I want to say thank you to my lenders for supporting me in boosting my farming project.’
Would you like to support another hardworking entrepreneur like John? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read similar inspiring stories!