Rosemary's a manager now

From a single mom struggling to make ends meet, Rosemary's determination and Irrigation Starter Pump turned her farm into a thriving business.

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October 16, 2023
From a single mom struggling to make ends meet, Rosemary's determination and Irrigation Starter Pump turned her farm into a thriving business.

Rosemary Okuku lives in the quiet village of Naya, Ugunja a sub-county of Siaya County. When her husband passed away in 2017, she found herself facing an uncertain future, with the responsibility of raising five children.

With a three-quarter acre of land as her remaining asset, she turned to farming as a means of survival. But as super storms and failed rainy seasons become common, smallholders across the region face a new challenge: adapting to a volatile climate. This year, Siaya was hit hard by drought and floods, resulting in increased incidences of poverty and food insecurity, destroying smallholder’s livelihoods across the region. Luckily for Rosemary, she’s been able to find a solution with KickStart’s Starter Pump. 

Like most in her village, Rosemary began cultivating maize during the rainy season, and a small vegetable plot in the dry season, which she would water with buckets from a nearby stream. The work of lugging buckets to fetch water took a lot of time and energy from the fifty-year-old, but she managed to grow high-quality spinach and kale, and demand for her product skyrocketed. 

Recognizing the untapped potential of her farm, Rosemary wanted to expand her farm into a full-fledged business. However, the idea of purchasing irrigation equipment seemed unattainable to her, most examples she’d seen were large-scale horticultural farms. It wasn’t until her women’s group received an invitation to a field day that Rosemary realized there were options for smallholders like her. 

Rosemary holding her Kickstart Starter Pump

At the training, Rosemary discovered the Starter Pump and was astounded by its affordability and accessibility. Realizing this could be a game-changer, she sold a goat and purchased a Starter Pump from the Siaya Seed SACCO just before the onset of the dry season.

With her new Starter Pump, Rosemary planted more kale and spinach, increasing her yields and has expanded her poultry business. She’s added 15 more chickens to her farm, and is using surplus vegetables as chicken feed, reducing her feeding cost greatly. This has allowed and enabled her to sell a crate of eggs each week, generating additional income for her family. 

Rosemary, with her chickens

Rosemary proudly shares her accomplishments with a smile “The pump has made me a manager. I now manage so many things on my farm: my chicken, my vegetable farm and very soon I will be selling fish,” she said.

Through irrigation and KickStart’s Starter Pump, Rosemary has completely transformed her life – allowing her to support her children’s education, expand her farm into a business, and plan for the future. She plans to send her children to college from her multiple streams of income and is inspiring other women in her village to take similar leaps of faith in themselves. 


The Starter Pump is currently the most affordable irrigation pump in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has the potential to revolutionize agriculture for millions of farmers in need.  We're grateful to the generosity of our community for believing in the power of innovation, appropriate technology and entrepreneurship. We are proud to have Kickstart in our portfolio of Venture Partners.

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