By George Gichuki
Through the group lending methodology, ECLOF-Kenya Ltd has been able to penetrate the rural and far flung areas in Kenya. The major economic activity in this market is agribusiness. It is a model that has transformed the lives of thousands needy Kenyans. Joseph Muthui is one of them. A small scale dairy farmer, Muthui hails from Kanjuku village in Githunguri constituency, Kiambu County. Due to overpopulation, the land in that village has been fragmented into tiny pieces measuring half an acre on average.
Support from Eclof Kenya
Initially employed as a bodaboda rider, Muthui led a life of hand to mouth before joining ECLOF Kenya Ltd. He did not have a family and would spend his meagre earnings as a rider on alcohol. Slowly but surely, his reckless lifestyle was leading him to depression. Fortunately, he joined a self-help group whose members were saving money and getting loans from ECLOF Kenya Ltd. “That was a major turning point in my life,” he confesses. “Determined to own my own bodaboda, I stopped consuming alcohol and started religiously saving my daily earnings as a rider with ECLOF Kenya Ltd,” he adds. He would save Kshs.50 on a daily basis. After accumulating some savings, he got a loan from Eclof-Kenya Ltd which he used to purchase a brand new bodaboda.
After achieving that goal, Muthui started working with earnest, doubling his daily savings and repaying his loan as scheduled. After clearing that loan, Muthui applied for another one which he used to buy a dairy cow. That impressed his mother who agreed to allocate him quarter an acre piece of land, from the family’s half acre.
Soon after, he got married and ECLOF-Kenya Ltd financed him to put up a semi-permanent house for his young family. Still operating his bodaboda business, Muthui engaged his wife in dairy farming. As his two enterprises continued to grow, ECLOF Kenya Ltd once more gave him a loan to purchase another dairy cow and to put up a zero grazing unit.
On average, his two cows produce fifty litres of milk daily which he sells to Githunguri Dairy Co-operative (a milk processor in his locality). “I am able to meet the needs of my family and to lead a decent life because of the support that I have got from ECLOF-Kenya Ltd,” Muthui says. Besides being financed by the lender, Muthui, together with the other members of his self-help group also get financial literacy training. “ECLOF-Kenya Ltd treats us with a lot of respect and should any one of us be experiencing challenges in his business, we are advised on the measures to take,” he happily says. “We therefore do not get into financial crisis,” he adds.
As a dairy farmer, his major challenge is feeding his two cows. He spends a substantial amount of money to purchase animal feeds as well as napier grass from other farmers. “I have inter-cropped napier grass with food crops in my tiny portion of land which is a major challenge for my dairy farming enterprise,” Muthui laments. To overcome that challenge, he is planning to purchase a bigger piece of land in the near future. Fortunately he already has a responsible financial partner to support help him in achieving that ambitious goal – ECLOF Kenya Ltd.