Farmers have the potential to play a key role in helping to reduce global hunger and poverty. Subsistence agriculture remains the dominant economic activity among the global poor, but many small-scale farmers lack the resources, training, or funds to increase their farm’s productivity. Small farmers often lack start up capital to buy basics such as seeds and fertilizer, and many live in remote regions that make it difficult to access these supplies. Moreover, without proper agricultural training, farmers often do not know how to optimize agricultural output. For many farmers, translating harvests into profit presents an additional hurdle. Pest infestations, rotting crops, lack of storage facilities, and difficulties navigating local trade networks are some of the issues that prevent farmers from getting the most from their harvests.
Poor farmers often require broad support in order to increase crop yields and multiply farm profits. However, traditional agricultural programs frequently provide assistance in just one area—for example, in the form of providing a small start up loan. Despite receiving this cash, rural farmers may still not be able to acquire the necessary seeds and fertilizer required to start growing their crops, or they may not have access to markets to sell their final harvests.
Many small farmers also face problems posed by environmental degradation. Deforestation causes soil erosion, and the loss of trees often means that farmers lose access to vital raw materials that could have otherwise helped boost farm productivity. Trees provide farmers with firewood, and can be made into wooden poles and trellises to support crops.
One Acre Fund helps farmers boost their farming productivity—increasing harvest per acre, sales, and income. One Acre Fund provides farmers with start up financing, seeds and fertilizer, agricultural training, and market facilitation to help maximize profit. In 2014 alone, One Acre Fund helped its farmers plant 4 million trees throughout East Africa, reversing the effects of deforestation. The nonprofit’s randomized control trials also help farmers improve implementation in areas such as nitrogen-fixing crops, crop rotation and diversity, alternative fertilizers, and energy-efficient light sources.
The Life You Can Save is a movement of people fighting extreme poverty. We hold that an ethical life involves using some of our wealth and resources to save and improve the lives of those less fortunate than us.
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