Across much of Africa, one of the most persistent challenges is hunger and malnutrition. Even as much of Africa experiences rapid economic growth and urbanization, and attracts increased investment in information technology, a large share of the population works in a basic form of subsistence farming that does not nearly meet food needs.
In Burundi, for example, agriculture accounts for 90 percent of all employment but accounts for just 40 percent of GDP and leaves 60 percent of children chronically malnourished.
Climate change is threatening to exacerbate this challenge, with more frequent drought and unpredictable weather increasing the prevalence of crop failures.
Solution and Impact
DFC financing is helping One Acre Fund support smallholder farmers in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, many of whom live in difficult-to-reach remote areas. One Acre employs more than 8,000 local workers to provide seed and fertilizer on credit, together with training on best practices for growing and storing food.
Data tracked by One Acre showed that in 2021, farmers it supported had maize yields that were 12 percent higher per acre and 30 percent higher overall than the baseline of farmers not in its program.
DFC has a 10-year lending relationship with One Acre and most recently committed a $20 million loan in 2022, which is expected to support crop inputs such as seeds and fertilizer, along with training and insurance to more than eight million smallholder farmers, approximately half of whom are female farmers.
In addition to that financing, DFC committed technical assistance to help One Acre Fund increase the developmental impact of its loan by helping farmers increase their resilience to climate change.