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One Acre Fund
Make a Difference TodayDonate to
One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund

Farmers have the potential to play a key role in helping to reduce hunger and poverty. A majority of people in the developing world provide for their families and communities through small-scale agriculture. One Acre Fund helps farmers boost their farming productivity—increasing harvest per acre, sales, and income. The nonprofit provides farmers with start up financing, seeds and fertilizer, agricultural training, and market facilitation to help maximize profit.

One Acre Fund currently serves farmers based in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi and Malawi. In 2017, One Acre Fund served more than 500,000 farm families throughout East Africa. The organization is on track to reach 1 million farmers by 2020.

The Problem

Farming 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. Family 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.

The Solution

One Acre Fund provides farmers with seeds and fertilizers based on credit, making these supplies affordable and accessible. In addition, One Acre Fund provides up-to-date agricultural training to improve harvests, and helps farmers safely store their crops and build relationships with local traders.

When farmers improve their harvests, they produce more food for their families and communities. By 2020, One Acre Fund estimates that participating farmers will produce a surplus of food to feed an additional 5 million of their neighbors.

How One Acre Fund is different from other charities

Poor farmers often need broad support in order to increase crop yields and multiply farm profits. Traditional agricultural programs often 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. What makes One Acre Fund different from other farm programs is its multi-faceted approach to helping local farmers maximize agricultural profit and sustainability. In addition to offering the initial capital for small-scale farmers to purchase seeds and fertilizer, One Acre Fund also facilitates regular meetings between its farmers and field staff to help coordinate supply deliveries, host training sessions, and collect loan repayments. One Acre Fund helps farmers build networks with local traders, without direct involvement in local trade markets. As a result, One Acre Fund’s market facilitation helps to ensure the long-term viability of farmers’ crops and profit.

Why One Acre Fund is effective

Impact

In 2016, individual One Acre Fund farmers saw an average increase of 50 percent in farm income from program participation, or about $100 in additional profits. Thanks to quality inputs and training on improved agricultural practices, farmers on average see more than a 50 percent increase in crop yields after the first year of enrollment.

Rapid growth

In 2016, One Acre Fund had a staff of 5,400 people, the majority of whom are field-based. The organization expects that its staff will continue to grow as more farmers enroll every year. The nonprofit currently works with more than 500,000 farm families and expects to reach 1 million by 2020. One Acre Fund is currently operating full-scale programs in six countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, and Uganda. It also has pilot programs in two additional countries and is continuing to scout new potential locations. 

Sustainability

In 2016, 98 percent of farmers repaid their loans, covering 73 percent of field program costs. Donations and grants are needed to fill the remaining gap between field revenues and field expenses of roughly $33 per farmer (including overhead).

Environmental conservation

One Acre Fund distributes tree seeds or seedlings, and in 2016, farmers successfully planted more than 4 million trees. Trees increase in value exponentially as they grow, so they're a good source of income for farmers who can sell them for firewood or building materials after a few years. In addition, trees prevent against soil erosion, reverse the effects of deforestation, and reduce atmospheric carbon. 

Innovation

One Acre Fund has conducted hundreds of trials on new crops and seed varieties, cost-effective farming techniques, and life-improving products for farmers. Field trials have led to implementation of a number of sustainable farming practices, such as encouraging intercropping, crop rotation, crop diversity, and planting trees. After successful trials, the organization is also offering some impactful non-agricultural products, such as solar lights and energy-efficient cookstoves. 

High Impact

One Acre Fund’s accountability and sustainability

One Acre Fund is a best charity by The Life You Can Save, and is a grantee of Big Bang Philanthropy—a consortium of individuals and foundations committed to funding the best solutions to extreme poverty. The Global Journal ranked One Acre Fund #15 on its list of the world’s Top 500 NGOs in 2015, even higher than its positions of #18 and #60 the previous two years.

One Acre Fund is committed to building meaningful careers for staff members, most of whom began their careers as small farmers. Country headquarters provide support to operating units, each comprised of about 75 field staff. The organization added two new countries in 2016, Uganda and Malawi, and is currently operating pilot programs or scouting in a handful of potential new locations.

One Acre Fund publicly details long term impact, methodology, and results from randomized trials, and publishes annual performance and financial reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does One Acre Fund support farmers in Africa? Why not help farmers in another region of the world?

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of hunger and malnutrition of any place on earth. According to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, about one in four people living in the region go to bed hungry each night and 23 million African children must attend school every day without enough food to help them reach their full educational potential. More than 60 percent of people living in East Africa rely on farming as their primary means of supporting themselves and their families. Providing farmers with the tools and resources to succeed reduces hunger for local communities, while also creating new economic opportunities for those living in subsistence agricultural communities.

What about corruption? How does One Acre Fund deal with and prevent corruption before investing in new communities?

One Acre Fund works with many local governmental partners to prevent political corruption when beginning programs in new districts. These partners include agricultural ministers, tribal chiefs, revenue and labor authorizes, and the local police force. As a result, One Acre Fund programs have not experienced any significant issues with corruption. In addition, One Acre Fund retains the majority of funds within their United States offices, which oversees transactions to pay for vendors, supplies, and staff payroll. Their Kenya program has fully transitioned to mobile phone-based transactions, which further reduces the possibility for corruption because it eliminates the need for handling cash.

Does One Acre Fund support programs in addition to its work on sustainable farming?

Yes, One Acre Fund also distributes high-quality reusable sanitary pads through AFRIpads, and recently expanded distribution of solar lamps and cook-stoves.

 

Why does The Life You Can Save recommend One Acre Fund?

One Acre Fund has been one of our recommended charities since before our current charity selection process was adopted in November 2016. They were suggested to us by the Mulago Foundation and Focusing Philanthropy, two highly regarded foundations that we view as mission and value aligned.  We also solicited input from various other experts we trust in the field and spoke with One Acre leadership before adding them to our list.

Is my donation to One Acre Fund tax-deductible?

One Acre Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and all donations are tax-deductible in the United States.

Can I donate stock to One Acre Fund?

Yes, if you would like to donate stock to One Acre Fund, please fill out the appropriate form here.

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