Saber Amer: From a Farmer to a Business Owner
Saber standing next to his flour mill using to grinding Henna (Photo: Abdulaziz Attobbai, UNDP)
Saber (21-years old) hails from a farmers’ family in Abyan, Khanfar district, Alfeesh village. His father rents and manages an over 80 Feddan (1 fedan = 4,200 m2) farm at an annual lease fee of one million YR (nearly USD 3,000). At his last high school year, Saber worked part-time as a hired agriculture worker in neighboring farms, including his father’s.
Once he learned of the UNDP 3x6 approach as part of the EU-funded Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY), he enrolled and received Life and Business Skills training with the determination to create his own business. Part of his training included the development of a business plan under the supervision and the coaching of a professional consultant. Inspired by his working environment where he used to grow and harvest Henna .
His business idea is simple: buying dry Henna leaves, grinding and packing it and sell as powder packs or cans. Using the programme's grant of YR 220.000, Saber purchased a flour mill for grinding henna.
While confident about the profitability of his new business, Saber’s main concern is frequent power cuts and outages which are hindering his business productivity. "Electricity is available for two hours, then the power is off for the next two hours. This allows me to grind 8 to 10 bags daily on average, each containing around 5 kg of Henna powder.” On average, Saber sells each bag for around YR 4,000 kg. With each bag costing around YR 1,000, in addition to another a thousand estimated operational costs, Saber's net profits double his investment with average YR 20.000 as daily income.
"My income is now better and more stable than before. I used to work very hard to find an opportunity to sell my hand labor, which used to give humble and irregular income". Saber added.
Now, Saber is in a far better position. He even managed to open new sales point in his home district of Ataq, Shabwah governorate giving his brother job opportinuty there. Saber affirmed that "Ataq is a good re-forwarding point, from which henna is taken to the Hadrami markets".
Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) programme is a joint-initiative funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by FAO, ILO, UNDP and WFP in four governorates in Yemen (Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj and Abyan). The three-year joint programme aims to enhance the resilience and self-reliance of crisis-affected rural communities through support to livelihoods stabilization, food security, local governance, social cohesion and improved access to sustainable energy.