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Partnering to Bring Financing to Women Farmers

Purity Kasivi Nzomo had a tough time finding a job to support her young son in rural Kenya. After searching for two years, she began rearing chickens, inspired by a friend who was able to live more comfortably because of the income she earned from her own poultry business. In the beginning, Purity struggled because she didn’t have enough money to buy chicks. For the first four years, she earned just $70 per month. And then a friend introduced her to Musoni, a Kenya-based microfinance institution.

Aftern accessing an intial $200 loan, she expanded her chicken house and to bought eggs to hatch. She then sold the chicks for around $100 after they matured. By the time she got her second loan, Musoni had an even better offer for her.

Working with Grameen Foundation, Musoni had developed a loan product called Kilimo Booster specifically for small-scale farmers. The interest rate and repayment schedule was especially appealing – unlike with other lenders, Purity could pay small amounts from the money she earned selling her eggs. Unlike regular business loans, Kilimo Booster offers flexible terms that match a customer’s repayment schedule with their farming and cash cycle. Like Musoni’s other loans, customers receive and repay loans electronically, usually via mobile phone.

With support from Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Grameen Foundation is working with Musoni Kenya to promote the loan and increase uptake among farmers across its 14 branches. This is part of Grameen Foundation’s efforts to use digital technology to expand access to effective financial, agricultural, and health services to poor households and communities.

Two years and four loans later, Purity earns between $297-396 each month. Despite some tough times – including losing all her birds to Newcastle disease – Purity is able to support her family thanks to her business. They live in a bigger house and she moved her son from public to private school so that he can have a much different future.

Looking ahead, Purity said, “With enough capital I want to go big. I will increase the number of birds and acquire an incubator with a capacity to hatch 4,000-5,000 birds. I hope Musoni will be able to give me a big loan to expand.” She also plans to buy more land so that she can increase her income and support her relatives from home.

Smiling shyly, Purity remembers when Musoni introduced the Kilimo Booster loan. ”I was very happy when Musoni introduced the Kilimo Booster loan. Before there was no grace period and you had to struggle to pay as it takes five to six months before [the hens] start producing eggs. Now I can get a grace period of up to six months.”

Musoni ihas begun training its clients on agricultural best practices. Ever ready to learn something new and expand her operations, Purity signed up to be among the first farmers trained.

This story was written by Grameen Foundation about its partnership with Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation in Kenya. It originally appeared on the AgTechXChange.

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