Make the Market Come to You

With a growing number graduated DIG farmers who are seeing their small vegetable plots as an entrepreneurial opportunity, DIG decided to established an organic vegetable stall at our partner hospital, Lwala Community Alliance (LCA), to create a new link to the local market economy.

With no other markets nearby, the stall offers a point of sale for DIG-trained farmers to market their vegetables twice a week to LCA hospital staff, patients, and other neighboring residents. The success of the stall has been tremendous and DIG is considering opening other satellite stalls throughout the area.  Syprose Anyango, a 32-year-old mother of 5, is one of the farmers who has consistently sold organic produce at the LCA stall, and this is her story.

Having lived in the area since 1996, Syprose joined DIG’s young mothers garden club last year. She went through 5 months of DIG training on sustainable farming practices with a strong focus on nutrition. She graduated in December 2015, and immediately started implementing the things she learned from DIG in her own garden at home.

Today, her 1/8 of an acre vegetable farm is thriving. She uses the produce both for her own household consumption but also to generate income. Syprose never saw herself as a business woman, but that’s rapidly changing. One day a week since January 2016 she has supplied the DIG organic vegetable stall with quality fresh produce for sale. Her sales earn her an average of $15 a day, or $60 a month.

Syprose says, “DIG’s organic vegetable stall has been of great help to me; I am always able to make a large sale once every week in only a couple hours. Selling all my vegetables through my farm gate and local market would not have given me as much. For example, if I had taken these vegetables to a retailer in the market I would only have gotten $3 or $4 dollars (ksh 350). Moreover, at the DIG stall I weigh my vegetables so I know how much income I should earn.”

Syprose says the money she earns from her vegetable sales helps her pay for school fees and supplies for her daughter. An opportunity she’s passionate about providing for all 5 of her children.

Looking forward, Syprose has plans to enlarge her farm, practice scheduled production, and take advantage of peak sales so she can increase her earning and eventually pay the school fees for her 4 other children.
“I am glad to have learnt farming techniques from DIG. My life has really changed. You can say that I am now self-employed.”