The Critical Role of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises in Agriculture: Wendy’s Story

A woman sells chicken products at a stand in Kenya.
Wendy Ronga operates her roadside grill business in Kenya.

On a busy road near the entrance to Kisumu International Airport, Wendy Ronga is part of a new era of entrepreneurship changing lives across Kenya. She sells grilled chicken, smoked sausages, and hardboiled eggs from her small roadside grill — and in the process, she is building a new future for herself and her family. This young mother is on a remarkable journey from unemployment to running her own operation thanks to the visionary leadership of Chicken Basket Limited (CBL), and support from MEDA.

The Chicken Basket model

Chicken Basket Limited, a Kenyan social enterprise launched almost ten years ago, is dedicated to empowering women and youths in the poultry business. Operating with a unique value chain model, CBL provides high-quality chicks, feeds, vaccination, and comprehensive poultry management training to smallholder enterprises (SEs) in Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, and Vihiga counties. At the same time, CBL trains, supplies, and partners with a growing network of vendors, like Wendy, who become entrepreneurs in their own rights.

It’s an innovative model designed to empower people like Wendy to have a say in their own success. From specialized training to lines of credit from the company, CBL looks for ways to improve efficiencies and strengthen its retail partnerships.

Wendy says what is especially valuable is the credit plan that allows her to stock up on supplies without having to first raise the cash to do so. “I can take goods from them with credit, but I pay later. So, with that, I can find myself making a lot of profits from what I sell. I’ve moved from one bag of sausages to two bags, from 10 eggs per day to one tray of eggs per day. It has been an impressive journey for me.”

This business not only provided her with a sustainable income but also allowed her to change the way she sees herself. “My biggest surprise is that I never imagined I would reach this state where I am. I just saw myself as this young lady. I wanted to find myself something to keep me busy, to earn small money I have in me so that I can manage my daily life,” Wendy said. “But as I’m standing here, should I call myself a boss lady or what? Because now I have employed two more people into this under my branch. It has been a positive challenge for me. I can stand up and talk on my own. I can have a voice for myself in the community.”

Abisai Nandi, the founder of Chicken Basket, is enthusiastic about Wendy’s success, seeing it as a validation of the enterprise’s broader impact. “If the young person is able to see that they can sell processed chickens and chicken sausages and eggs at their locations and make money, then they can be able to come up as people running their own enterprises. That’s how we are positioning them,” Nandi explained.

MEDA’s role in supporting entrepreneurs

MEDA’s involvement with Chicken Basket Limited is part of its broader mission to support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector. MEDA recognizes that MSMEs are the backbone of many economies, particularly in developing regions, driving innovation, creating jobs, and fostering economic stability. Through strategic partnerships, MEDA provides tailored financial services, capacity strengthening programs, and market access support to ensure these enterprises can grow.

MEDA partnered with CBL under the Leveraging Equality for Gender-Inclusive Economic Development (LEGEND) project to scale up CBL’s operations. This collaboration aims to enroll and train more than 2,000 people, imparting vital poultry farming skills through capacity strengthening on technical topics, marketing, financial literacy, and access to quality inputs. This support ensures that enterprises like CBL can provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs like Wendy, who then create jobs and contribute to their communities’ overall economic stability.

Wendy’s story is a testament to the impact of MEDA’s mission, and proof of its ability to change lives. “My son is my driving force because being a mother is very difficult and it’s very involving. But this business is giving me room to be a mother at the same time as a businessperson. He’s giving me motivation every day to work hard. I wake up and go crush the day, every day,” Wendy explains.

As MEDA continues to support companies like Chicken Basket, the benefits extend to a wider range of enterprising young people. When MSMEs can flourish, food security and economic stability also strengthen, as individuals are empowered to improve their lives and communities.

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  • MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)

    MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. We work in agri-food market systems, focusing primarily on women and youth in rural communities in the Global South. Our success is measured by income, improved processes, increased knowledge, and the creation of decent work.

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