04 November 2013

A Kenyan milk farmer dreams of a pick up truck

DSC_0413Sauri, Kenya - George Aronyi dreams of one day buying a pick up truck. He is a planner who was laughed at when he told his father that he would build a nice home.

"One day I will get out and put up a good permanent house," he said to his father.

The father of seven children managed to turn a challenge into an opportunity. After losing his job, he took advantage of the resources of the Millennium Village Project (MVP) and struck out on his own. With a growing business of selling milk and maize, he is not far off from getting that pick-up.

A telecoms worker in Nairobi, Aronyi was laid off in 2008. He returned to his home to the west unsure what to do next. His wake up call came in the form of a son being sent home for school over 100 KSH in missing school fees.

He decided to find a job to provide for his family, but was dissuade from doing so. Nevertheless, Aronyi secured employment as a landscaper. This is where things turned around. Having done such a great job as a landscaper, one of his customers thanked him by giving him a cow.

Milk from the cow and maize from his acre of land supplied enough of an income to get by, but he needed to expand. The MVP provided free inputs to his plot in 2005. It is how he learned to use fertilizer and improved seeds. By 2008 the subsidy was not available and more land was needed.

So he leased some. The seemingly simple solution was not common practice. Aronyi again saw resistance from family, friends and neighbors, but the results stood from themselves. He went from producing 5 bags of maize per season to producing 100 bags and hiring two workers.

"I feel like I pioneered by leasing out land," he said.

Continue reading on Humanosphere...