Monicah transformed her business from selling vegetables to a poultry farm

Monicah (43) lives with her husband and son in Kerwa Village, Kikuyu town, Kiambu County, central Kenya. For two years (2016-2018), she owned a small kiosk in the Kerwa market, selling vegetables and other farm products, such as tomatoes, onions and carrots. In November 2018, while attending her kiosk, she was approached by a loan officer from ASA Kenya’s Kikuyu Branch.

“I was instantly attracted to ASA’s philosophy of empowering women and to the affordability of their services.”

“Compared to other money lenders, services, such as the interest charged on loans and the loan servicing fee are affordable. I also like that they disburse the money through my cell phone and there is only a short waiting period for getting my loan after applying. I appreciate the transparency the loan officer offers by recording my repayments and the good customer care shown.”

A well-informed decision

After joining ASA Kenya in 2019, Monicah was able to shift her business from selling vegetables to a poultry farming business. However, she did not drop the kiosk business at once; rather, she waited for her first batch of chickens to grow so that she could have a source of income while trying a new business. Before the switch, she and her sister had researched the poultry business and determined that it yielded good returns on investment.

“I was convinced that we could start the poultry farm after learning about the high demand of eggs and poultry meat from potential buyers such as restaurant owners, butchers and other kiosk owners.”

Monicah received her first loan of Ksh.20,000 in January 2019 and started the poultry business with 600 chickens to supply eggs and chicken meat to hotels, restaurants and other kiosk owners. The demand for her products increased steadily, resulting in more sales, making her enjoy additional profits. She developed a passion for her business because it is easy to manage and monitor the health of her chickens from her home.

Business growth

Her business has continued to grow according to her expectations, encouraging her to continue to partner with ASA Kenya to apply for more loans, which enable her to purchase raw materials such as soya and maize needed for rearing her chickens.

Since starting her poultry farm, Monicah has always realized good sales.

“In fact, sales started to increase when the Covid-19 pandemic happened, because the demand for food products increased since people wanted to store more food in their homes due to restrictions on movement.”

Monicah is very happy with the ASA Kenya loans to grow her business. Her husband supports her because he noticed that they do not need to deposit a high security collateral to get the loan funded. Also, they don’t consider repaying the loan as stressful because the profit Monicah makes within a week enables her to repay her loan instalments on time, expand her business, buy raw materials needed for her chicken’s breeding, pay her suppliers on time, pay home bills and save money for family emergencies.

Challenges and ambitions

The only challenge Monicah has experienced in her business to date is the difficulty of accessing some of the raw materials needed to prepare chicken feeds due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Because prices are better, I get most of my supplies from Uganda, where the government recently imposed a total lockdown of the country to address the Covid-19 situation, hindering timely delivery of my supplies.” *

The situation has driven transporters to charge higher fees, forcing Monicah to increase the prices of her products as well. She hopes the Covid-19 situation will be managed well by the Kenyan and Ugandan governments to allow a smooth flow of business again.

Monicah’s longer term ambition is to expand her business into a bigger chicken farm and export eggs and chicken meat.

“My husband and I are hoping to buy farmland a few kilometres away from our permanent home to set up a bigger chicken farm.”

*At the time of this interview (July 2021), Uganda experienced a government imposed lockdown.