Esoko, East Africa

Farming is my life. I grew up the daughter of farmers and then married a farmer. I love farming because it helps me provide food for myself and for my family. When we harvest a lot, I have plenty to sell and I can use those resources to send my children to school and develop our home.

Our biggest challenge as farmers is not being able to predict what will happen.We don’t always know the best time to plant or whether it will rain or not, so we will just plant in hope of rain. But sometimes the rain doesn’t fall, and we wouldn’t have harvest. Or if we did harvest, it was very little. It wasn’t enough to sustain us. Every planting season is stressful.

With Esoko, we have information. We know when it’s going to rain and how much. We know which fertilizer to use and are following Esoko’s instructions, and it’s yielding food for us. As we take care of our crops, we even receive market information on where we can go to sell our harvest for a good price. We are seeing much benefit in a company that’s interested in how we farm and in helping us before we plant and after we have harvest.

Just now, as I sit here, I got a message from Esoko on the cost of mangoes in the market. If I had mangoes, I would know where to sell them. It’s easy. I don’t have to go anywhere. That’s how we sell our maize. I am proud to say that I have harvested 15 bags of maize from my farm because I followed Esoko’s instructions on how to plant and what to do post-harvest.

We used to sell to brokers because that was the only market available to us. They would offer maybe 5 or 10 shillings per kilo. When I found out the price was 50 shillings at the market, it hurt really bad. If I would have known there was a better price somewhere else, I would have gone.

My family suffered because these brokers took advantage of my lack of information. With Esoko, we are no longer losing money. We are no longer getting ripped off. I have control. It’s exciting.

We use the extra money to better our lives. I want my children to get a good education, so I put the money towards their school. Now when my husband makes money and I sell what I get from the farm, we combine our earnings and we’re able to move our family forward.

Esther, 33, is a daughter of farmers, a mother of four and a customer of Acumen investee, Esoko, in rural Kenya.

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