Progress for the First Part of 2015
On March 30th, 2015, One Acre Fund hosted its bi-annual open analyst call. These calls are an excellent opportunity to learn about One Acre Fund’s progress towards achieving country-specific milestones, and to ask senior leadership questions about the organization’s plans for the future.
One Acre Fund co-founder Andrew Youn began the call by reporting on growth over the last six months. The core program is now reaching over 280,000 clients, up from 200,000 in 2014. With second season enrollment in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania later this year, field operations are on track to reach our target of serving 300,000 farmers in 2015.
Updates on Programs and New Products
Below are some of the country-specific highlights that were announced:
- Kenya: Achieved 100 percent repayment in 2014 for the first time ever, fueling record enrollment in 2015.
- Rwanda: Enrolled over 100,000 total clients in our second season – the best we’ve done (percentage-wise) since 2012 in retaining first-season clients.
- Burundi: Significant improvements in planting compliance drove a tripling of the impact per farmer in 2014 (relative to 2013).
- Tanzania: Reached 9,000 farmers in just its second official season – the fastest new country operation to do so.
In addition to reporting on country-level progress during the call, we also highlighted several exciting new trials and product offerings, including
John Muhevi, a One Acre Fund Client
We ended the bi-annual call by telling the inspiring story of John Muhevi, a young One Acre Fund farmer in Chwele district in Western Kenya.
John joined One Acre Fund in 2011. He and his wife Elizabeth have four children and also care for Elizabeth’s niece. Since joining One Acre Fund, John has consistently harvested around 9-10 bags of maize each season on his half-acre farm.
“The day I finished my first One Acre Fund harvest was the happiest day of my life. I knew I would harvest a lot of maize, but nine bags, wow! That was way more than what I had expected.”
Following One Acre Fund’s advice, John held on to three of his bags until the market prices had peaked, when he sold them at a huge profit. On these bags he affixed One Acre Fund labels reading “tatu hadi tatu”. That’s Swahili for “three until three”, meaning that he should save three bags of maize until March, the third month of the year, when the market price of maize increases dramatically.
With the money he earned from selling his maize, John was able to buy a cow, which has since given birth to a calf. John keeps some milk for his children and sells the rest to his neighbors. He was also able to rent land to grow sweet potatoes, which his family sells every week at the market. John’s latest business venture? Growing watermelon.
John has used the proceeds from his sweet potatoes, milk, and watermelon to pay school fees, expand his home, and to increase the size of his One Acre Fund loan.
“One Acre Fund taught me to see farming as a business. I’m therefore doing farming as a businessman. My main aim is not only to grow enough for my family, but to make a profit.”
In pursuit of our organizational goals, One Acre Fund is also making progress towards the goals of the Zero Hunger Challenge. One Acre Fund joined the Zero Hunger Challenge in November 2014, and has been tracking progress against our commitments to this important initiative. We hope that you’ll join us by taking the challenge yourself, and help us eliminate hunger in our lifetimes.