Nabin Khadka, a 28 year-old resident of Shiva Satashi Municipality in Jhapa district, Eastern Nepal, comes from a large family of 8 members. With limited land owned and the absence of other income-generating opportunities in the village, the family had difficulty in making ends meet. Khadka lives in the fertile Terai plains and although it is one of the major areas for the production of tea and rice in Nepal, farmers are often required to find additional ways to supplement their incomes.
In 2014, Khadka came to know about the Sahara Nepal Savings and Credit Co-operative Society and its activities and borrowed Rs 10,000 as a loan to start poultry farming. By 2016, he had repaid the loan, as his small farm had gradually brought him increased revenue. He further found out about an energy-lending programme at Sahara supported through the UN Capital Development Fund’s CleanStart programme in partnership with ACE Development Bank and Winrock International. Taking part in an orientation broadened Khadka’s knowledge about solar energy and how it could directly help him earn income.
Then, he decided to scale up his business and again approached Sahara, this time for a loan of Rs .3 million, which was 30 times larger than his initial credit, showing his growing confidence in his new business. With the loan approved and sanctioned by Sahara, he installed a 40Wp solar system for lighting purposes, which was also used for feeding chicks at night. He is now running a poultry business in 5 kattha land with 40Wp solar-powered facilities. His total assets are estimated at Rs 2.5 million.
Learning by doing, Khadka has also successfully established his poultry farm as a local collection centre for poultry products from other farms located in the vicinity. At present, his supply of poultry products fully caters to the demands of nearby villages in his own district and even in neighboring Ilam district in the north. Currently, his annual turnover is around Rs 0.6 million. Once unemployed himself, he now employs five young people from his village who were once frustrated and had plans to migrate to the Middle East or Malaysia for work.
Khadka said that the Sahara loans had greatly helped in improving his poultry business. "I am using the light to feed my chickens at night. Less chickens are dying and I am saving some money. I am thinking of installing a solar heating system before winter comes,” he said.
The CleanStart programme supports low-income households and micro-entrepreneurs to jump start their access to clean energy through microfinance. It encourages greater financing choices for poor people, supported by high-quality technologies and services, and enabling ecosystems for energy and financial service providers to achieve scale and impact.