The technology exists to end poverty and yet poverty is still a reality for many rural African farmers. Andrew Youn, founder of One Acre Fund, seeks to close the gap through providing seed and fertilizer technology to rural African farmers. Two issues arise when trying to reach out to rural African farmers. Lack of roads makes traveling to rural areas difficult and even if technology can reach the rural areas, many farmers lack access to credit and cannot afford the new products. In addition, lack of training makes the technologies ineffective for the farmers.
Improving the farm standards of rural farmers has great potential to change the face of poverty. As Youn points out, a doubling in crop size would mean the difference between poverty and profitability, hunger relief, and surplus amounts of goods. It grants families the opportunity to send children to school. It also allows for farmland longevity and the ability to produce crops year after year.
The One Acre Fund has developed a model to distribute agricultural advances to African rural farmers. They set up rural market points within walking distance of farms and distribute goods, provide training, and offer farmers small business loans in $80 increments to help improve their crops. On average, the One Acre Fund farmers double their farm profits in one planting season. This is an impressive feat and one that is reducing poverty in sustainable ways. One Acre Fund also works to partner with host governments to continue to expand their ability to work within rural Africa.
Since they began in 2006, the One Acre Fund has grown to serve 130,000 rural farms across Burundi, Kenya, and Rwanda. They expect within a decade to serve more than 1.5 million farm families directly. By providing training and resources to local farmers, they have the opportunity to grow into entrepreneurs with businesses that turn a profit. This profit lifts the family out of poverty and improves development throughout rural Africa.
– Amanda Kloeppel