The World Bank estimates that by 2030, 9 out of 10 of the world’s extreme poor will live in Sub-Saharan Africa-- 79% in rural areas, where smallholder farming is the main economic activity. Today, 1 in 13 children in this region die before the age of five, and 34% of children are stunted from a lifetime of insufficient food. The concentration of these farmers, many of whom are women with dependent children, represents a critical leverage point in the fight against global poverty and hunger. Yet Africa’s full agricultural potential remains untapped.
Since 2006, One Acre Fund has engaged farm families as customers, providing microloans, commercial-grade farm inputs like seeds and fertilizer, and simple agronomic training; together, this model enables over one million families each year to increase their income on supported land by over 40%. By scaling up partnerships with governments and the private sector, One Acre Fund is now expanding their services to reach 20% of all smallholder families in the eight countries that hold most of Africa’s farmers. In five years, One Acre Fund will directly serve 1.98 million farm families per year, plus another 2.9 million families per year through partners. By empowering hard-working farmers, One Acre Fund seeks to transform entire countrywide and regional agricultural systems, unleashing a powerful catalyst for ending global poverty in our lifetime.
By equipping farmers with five simple tools and techniques, One Acre Fund will enable farmers to earn more income. Through a small-loans program, farmers can access (1.) high-yielding 100% natural and locally produced seed (2.) micro-dosing fertilizer, and (3.) tree seedlings, a long term asset that benefits both farmers and the environment. They also receive (4.) agronomic training to increase their yields and (5.) products and training to improve soil health. Along with delivery and post-harvest market facilitation, One Acre Fund’s full-service program is a holistic solution that can overcome the major barriers that rural farmers face, like lack of affordability, accessibility, and knowledge. As a result, the average family in the program generates a 40% improvement in net profits on supported land. Working with partners and governments, One Acre Fund can now also deliver these interventions to farmers on a countrywide scale.
In 2015, One Acre Fund received its first Audacious investment. Over the last five years, they have increased their reach five-fold and are now serving more than 1 million farm families across six countries. High-quality studies demonstrate that One Acre Fund farmers in Burundi, Tanzania, and Kenya enjoy a yield improvement in staple crops across a range of contexts and an increase in profit on supported land of between 24 - 40%. In Rwanda, recent work with the national government has been a compelling proof of concept for their partner model’s ability to scale. Currently, 14,000 government farmer-trainers are equipped with One Acre Fund’s curriculum and materials. In Rwanda, One Acre Fund also joined forces with two partner companies to produce domestic maize seed at scale for the first time. In one year, this private-sector partnership, endorsed by the Rwandan government, improved the supply of professional maize seed in the country by 20%.
Andrew is the Executive Director and co-founder of One Acre Fund. He started the organization in 2006, inspired by two farm families he met in Kenya. Fourteen years later, One Acre Fund serves more than one million farm families each year, providing them with the financing and agricultural training they need to increase their yields and begin the climb out of poverty. Youn is also the co-founder of D-Prize, an organization that funds early-stage startups that are innovating better ways to distribute proven life-enhancing technologies. He is a former management consultant at Oliver Wyman, and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
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