Greetings from One Acre Fund! I’m happy to share our 2018 annual report, where we take stock of the last year and our impact for hard-working farmers.
In 2018, we served more farm families than ever before: over 800,000 farmers and an estimated 3.2 million children. We’re now within striking distance of serving 1 million clients by 2020. We're also continuing to deliver impact as we grow: clients in almost all countries achieved substantially higher yields than similar farmers not working with One Acre Fund.
This year also underscored the challenges of smallholder agriculture, an inherently risky profession. In several countries, our customers faced leaner harvests due to erratic rainfall and pests. In Kenya and Rwanda, where harvests were strong, surplus maize and export restrictions lowered maize prices and farmer profits.
While we cannot control the weather, we can build farmers' resilience to these shocks. Coming out of this year, we’re deepening our commitment to crop diversification. We’ll continue to invest in maize, as it remains the top crop our customers want. At the same time, we’ll also offer a broader range of crops to help farmers spread their bets. Crop diversification makes both environmental and economic sense.
Building farmer resilience to changing weather is just one example of how we’re thinking more broadly about farmer quality of life and prosperity in the long-term. We know that delivering monetary impact—the market value of what a farm produces each season—will remain critical. At the same time, we’re asking how we can equip farmers to accumulate assets like trees and livestock, diversify their families' diets, and enrich their soil for future generations. This is not the work of one year, but of consistent innovation and quality execution, year after year after year.
There is incredible power in taking a long-term view of impact. We have an important responsibility to more than 800,000 families, and we care deeply about their success for multiple decades.
In farming, there are always going to be some lean years mixed in with the good ones. But by building for the long term we can eventually help millions of farm families manage risks, plan for the future, and build enduring paths to prosperity.
Together in service,