Biskell Meleki was born in 1987 in Mkushi district and spent most of his early years in Luano district. He attended primary school at Shaibila Primary School, then proceeded to Mansansa School for grades 8 and 9 before boarding at Mkushi Secondary School for grades 10 to 12. As Biskell had grown up on his parent’s farm he was naturally drawn to study agriculture at the Zambia College of Agriculture in Monze.
After graduating Biskell worked for Alliance Ginneries from 2011 to 2012 and from 2012 to 2018 he worked for Zambia National Farmers Union in Mwinilunga. As a young man with foresight, he opened an agro shop and started farming whilst he was still employed with ZNFU before resigning in 2018 to focus completely on his own agricultural businesses.
Biskell started his farming journey using hand hoes for tillage and then graduated to animal draft power(ADP). Reliance on animals proved not to be very efficient as the output was still very low and the actual work load very high with disease outbreaks creating higher levels of uncertainty. It was then that Biskell mechanised his farm, initially by hiring equipment which he quickly realised was both expensive and also the equipment was not available at the premium farming times. However, after learning how finance leasing could provide him with the means to afford mechanisation, he chose a Massey Ferguson 85 HP tractor and a disc harrow and signed his first finance leasing contract with AgLeaseCo in 2019.
The Impact of the tractor
Biskell Meleki has never looked back since he took that first step into mechanisation with AgLeaseCo. He has increased his farmed hectarage from 10 to 50 Ha and has doubled his yields (maize yields have gone from 4 to 8 tonnes per hectare and soya beans from 1.5 to 3 tonnes per hectare). He attributes this huge increase to being able to perform the required farming operations at the optimum time. Furthermore, leasing his own equipment has reduced the cost of production and increased his income even at a time of low commodity prices. Biskell also provides tillage services to surrounding communities (after completing his own farming operations) earning him additional income with the local community greatly benefiting from this service. He reports that many of his current customers now fully recognise the benefits of mechanisation and are being inspired to lease their own equipment with AgLeaseCo.
Biskell has plans to farm even more land very soon with the intention to lease more equipment once his current lease is fully paid.