A young farmer tills her land in Kenya

How profitable farming is nurturing a generation of women entrepreneurs

Eugine’s Asubila story is a testament to how smallholder agriculture is empowering women across Kenya – and sub-Saharan Africa – to become entrepreneurs by creating the means for them to set up new businesses.
Farm supplies Impact

When Eugine Asubila turned 18, she couldn’t start earning fast enough, and she found her first opportunity in hairdressing. Moving from house to house, she offered her services to whoever could pay her. But, even after years of hard work, she couldn't quite save enough to fulfill her dream of opening a salon. 

In 2016, she got married, and her father-in-law gave her a piece of land to farm on to boost her family’s meager income and provide for her family.

A woman smallholder farmer tends to her field
“Even though the land was small—less than half an acre—I did not have the money to purchase farm inputs like seed and fertilizer, I was lucky to enroll with One Acre Fund, where I got access to farm inputs on credit and started farming, growing maize and later beans. I also opened a salon!"

Eugine Asubila

Smallholder farmer, Kenya

As Eugine’s story illustrates, smallholder agriculture is empowering young women farmers by not only offering ready employment, but also by creating the means for them to diversify their incomes and explore new business opportunities.

Impact of access

For generations, women farmers have played a pivotal role in agriculture in Kenya despite hurdles in accessing resources such as land, credit, and agricultural inputs. These challenges are, however, diminishing as various agricultural stakeholders are working to increase women’s access to farming resources and knowledge. 

“Women in rural areas have limited access to the money they require to farm. One Acre Fund enables women to access inputs and trains them to plan their finances and make meaningful investments for themselves, their homes, and families," says Eugine.

For smallholder farmers, removing the reality of upfront costs lightens the financial burden of farming, allowing them to balance their aspirations and immediate family needs with income generation.

"My family is assured of eating throughout the year! Since joining One Acre Fund, our harvests have steadily risen,” Eugine says. “Last season alone, I harvested 30 kilograms of beans and eight 90-kg sacks of maize from half an acre of land. We have also purchased a dairy cow that provides fresh milk and chickens that give us eggs.” 

In addition to farming supplies, farmers also have access to lifestyle products such as smartphones and solar lights.

A smallholder farmer holding a phone to her ear, in her home feeding her daughter.
“I have also purchased a smartphone for myself – which means I can access information, and it opens up my world! I have also bought solar lights for my children to comfortably do their homework and study at night, which means they are confident in their schooling and perform better."

Entrepreneurship and income diversification

When farmers have reliable access to food and even have a surplus to sell, they get the means to start entrepreneurial ventures allowing them to earn more and diversify their income. This freedom allows them to pursue their dreams, invest in new businesses, and acquire the necessary tools and capital to realize their aspirations.

“With the extra income I get from selling my surplus harvest, I have gradually invested in salon equipment, such as blow-dryers and hair accessories. It's a symbiotic relationship—my salon supports my farming efforts by ensuring I can keep up with loan repayments, while my farming income fuels the growth of my salon business.”

Entrepreneurship and income diversification empower farmers like Eugine to break free from the cycle of subsistence living, enabling them to build sustainable businesses, access new markets, and enhance their overall quality of life. 

A female farmer from Kenya stands next to a tree in her field
“It is good to know that I can find other ways to improve our lives beyond feeding my family. It means I am a successful wife and a mother, which makes me proud. For myself, it means I can go out and use my skills to do more and improve myself.”

Join us as we continue to support farmers like Eugine and help them build permanent pathways to prosperity, paving the way for thriving communities, resilient economies, and a brighter future for generations to come.

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A smallholder farmer proudly stands in her field of maize.