One Acre Fund
“Three quarters of East Africans are farmers. The solution to their food crisis lies in their own fields.”
Sub-Issues: Livelihoods; Access to Capital; Smallholder Productivity Farming is the dominant economic activity of the world’s poor. But the typical subsistence farmer in rural Africa struggles to get by when planting season means scarcity of seeds and fertilizer, and harvest season brings glutted local markets and low prices.
The Skoll Awardee: Few challenges have faced more analysis and led to the creation of more well-meaning programs than subsistence agriculture in Africa. Andrew Youn’s innovation was to start from the perspective of a single farmer, designing a solution enabling her to join a buying group and get credit to acquire seeds and fertilizer, learn better farm practices, grow enough to feed her family and sell her surplus at a good price through a marketing point within walking distance of her home. She doubles her income and can send her children to school and take care of the family’s health. : By 2010, One Acre Fund had established marketing and distribution networks in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi. and served 32,000 farm families cultivating 17,600 acres These families doubled their income and repaid loans for farm inputs.
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2010:
- One Acre Fund expanded to a fourth country, Tanzania, in 2013, and had served more than 280,000 farm families by 2015. Each acre managed in the program produces an additional 1,000 pounds of food, or 2,000 person-meals, each year.
- The program reduces infant mortality (birth to age 2) by half in areas of operation.
- Crop diversification has been added to the program to promote better nutrition and resilience in the face of setbacks like the maize virus that struck Kenya in 2013.
- One Acre Fund is working to expand partnerships with governments open to replicating and expanding programs based on its model, reforming agricultural systems at national scale.
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