Mediatrice Musabyemariya repayment close up

One Acre Fund's Progress Towards Sustainability

The more financially sustainable we become, the fewer donor dollars we need per farmer to support our operations.

2015 Financial Sustainability Graphic

Sustainability and One Acre Fund

Sustainability is an indicator of the efficiency of our operating model. We calculate sustainability by measuring the percentage of our direct service model and agrodealer program costs that is covered by farmer repayments. The more sustainable we become, the fewer donor dollars we need per farmer to support our operations. It also means we generate more impact for every dollar invested, which improves our Social Return on Investment (SROI).

Financial Sustainability Revenue Graphic

With the exception of 2013, when a devastating maize virus in Kenya affected farmer enrollment and revenue, our financial sustainability has been steadily increasing each year. In 2015, our financial sustainability was at 79 percent, up from 74 percent in 2014.

Improving Sustainability

To improve sustainability, we focus on levers like transaction size per farmer and farmer loan repayment rate, as well as staffing ratios like clients per field officer. Each country’s path to sustainability depends on its operational context. For example, because Tanzania has a much lower population density than Rwanda, field officers in Tanzania are responsible for fewer clients. On average, farmers in Tanzania also have more land than Rwandan smallholder farmers. As a result, to improve sustainability, Tanzania will focus on increasing transaction size per farmer.

Total Farmer Loan Repayments (USD)
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 (projected)
14.1 14.9 19.5 29

We continue to have strong repayment performance across our operations, so we’re focusing our efforts on increasing transaction size and impact per farmer, and clients per field officer. The scale innovations team trials operational modifications to improve those metrics, while the finance team suggests areas for cost efficiency.

Sustainability is an important organizational goal, but achieving sustainability at the expense of customer service or farmer impact is not something we’re willing to consider. Our operations have dedicated customer engagement teams to ensure that we provide quality customer service year-round. We remain as committed as ever to developing country operations that achieve financial sustainability objectives while maintaining operational excellence.

Note: As of May 1, 2016, our financial sustainability number was updated to reflect audited figures. Additionally, revenues from previous years have been adjusted to more accurately reflect our core and farm input sales business results.

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