Our Kiva borrower this month is Jeremie from Burundi, who is seeking a loan of $4,975 (around £3963) in order to buy a substantial quantity of manure.
…Yes, you read that correctly.
Chicken manure to be precise.
It’s not something we’d ever thought we’d find ourselves blogging about, if we’re frank, but this ‘black gold,’ as we’re reliably informed it’s referred to by poultry keepers, is a phenomenally useful substance.
Firstly, it is nutrient rich.
It is the ‘hottest’ or most concentrated of all manures. It is particularly rich in nitrogen (more so than the equivalent, er, ‘output’ of cows and horses), meaning it’s seriously good at improving soil quality for plant growth.
Not only that but it can be stored for a long time before losing those valuable nutrients.
This means Jeremie’s bulk-buy won’t decrease in value if he is not immediately able to re-sell it.
Burundi is a country plagued by poverty.
It was locked in bloody civil war for well over a decade, and suffered further setbacks due to political instability in 2015.
“The long period of fighting was extremely disruptive to agriculture, which is the main source of livelihood for nine in ten Burundians…The vast majority of Burundi’s poor people are small-scale subsistence farmers trying to recover from the conflict…and as the population grows, less fertile land is available for agriculture.”
Jeremie’s trade in ‘black gold’ chicken manure is directly contributing to the rebuilding of small-scale farming by improving the fertility of otherwise poor land.
He has been selling it for nine years, since the end of the country’s civil war, and intends to continue in this niche in the future.
This business is able to take a waste product and use it to provide not only for his own family of seven, but to increase the yields of some of the world’s poorest subsistence farmers.
It’s not something we ever thought we’d be saying, but funding the purchase of poultry poop is making a difference in a region that desperately needs it.