The majority of the world’s poor are farmers and many of them maintain just a single acre of land, struggling to produce enough food or earn enough income to feed their families. In addition to these everyday challenges farmers face, the COVID-19 pandemic has put their health at risk and threatened to reduce food production across the continent.
Solution and Impact
Financing has helped One Acre Fund support these very small farmers in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, many who are based in hard-to-reach remote areas. One Acre Fund works with people in the community to provide seed and fertilizer on credit, together with training on best practices on growing and storing food.
One Acre has already reached hundreds of thousands of farmer and its support has helped these farmers earn, on average, an additional $137 per year—a significant amount considering that many subsistence farmers live on less than $1 a day. And by providing farmers with tools to grow and sell more food, One Acre has achieved a very high repayment rate of more than 99 percent.
The project has also created employment for thousands of people in the communities where it works. One Acre employs about 4,000 East African nationals who work distributing seed and fertilizer, conducting trainings, and collecting repayments.
In the spring of 2020, One Acre adopted many new practices to help protect farmers from COVID-19, distributing masks and soap, canceling all group training sessions in favor of one-on-one meetings, and helping farmers assemble basic handwashing stations that work without piped water. One Acre is also working to make more of its training available over mobile phones and to support the expansion of mobile money infrastructure to facilitate remote loan repayments.