Growth in Farming through VisionFund
Sanford, 42, is married with 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys. He is a jovial and hardworking large-scale farmer who grows soya beans and maize for sale. A few years ago, Sanford was unable to provide for his family because he did not have resources to do so. He owned a 4-hector piece of land which only produced enough crop for his family’s consumption and a little for sale due to lack of farming inputs and money.
“I was overwhelmed trying to make ends meet to provide for my family. It used to make me feel so sad most of the time when the children would run to me or their mother crying that they are hungry because their meals were never enough,” said Sanford. He says he would sometimes lose hope in farming and thought of engaging in other activities that could help him provide for his family. “A huge piece of land was going to waste every planting season; I did not have the resources to use it because the cost of cultivating is usually high. Sometimes I would ask my brother in-law if I could use his cattle to till the land, but it still did not make a difference,” he said.
With funding from World Vision’s Agriculture Nutrition Education and WASH (ANEW) project, Sanford was introduced to VisionFund by the community chairperson and he was able to access a loan in the amount of K5,000 for farming inputs. It was at this point life began to change and improve for Sanford and his family. “At first I was scared because it was the first time I was handling such a large amount of farming inputs,” he said. “In the past I would only grow crops on a very small piece of land, but this time I had to plan very well so that I would not make a loss.” From his first loan, Sanford was able to grow soya beans and maize on the entire four hectors of land. “I mainly focused on soya beans and when the crops were ready for harvest, I harvested 130 by 50-kilogram bags of soya beans. This was a dream come true for me because after selling some of the bags, I managed to earn an income that helped me pay back the loan to VisionFund and provide my family with food essentials and school necessities,” said Sanford.
Encouraged by his farming output, Sanford was motivated to get another loan of K10,000 which he used to cultivate more crops. Sanford used the profit to build a larger house for his family. “We used to live in a small two roomed grass thatched house but after realizing that I was able to earn enough income to carter for myself, my wife and I decided to build a larger house with a metal roof so that our children could be comfortable,” he said. Sanford has also benefited from World Vision’s community trainings on sanitation and hygiene. His household has been able to maintain good hygiene through the knowledge shared by World Vision. “We no longer face any diarrheal cases because we have knowledge on how to keep our surrounding clean. I am very happy because we now have the five basic water, saniation and hygiene needs,” he said with a smile. “Through World Vision, I also learnt about the importance of saving, accessing loans and using them to generate more income through savings groups. My hope is to develop my farming skills and increase my land so that I can supply my products to a larger market. Florence, Sanford’s 8-year-old daughter said, she is happy that her father has been able to provide for her siblings and herself unlike in the past where they only used to have one meal in a day.