A brief insight into the key factors that drove impact in 2018.
|2016 ($ gain in farmer income)||2017 ($ gain in farmer income)||2018 ($ gain in farmer income)||2016 (% gain in farmer income)||2017 (% gain in farmer income)||2018 (% gain in farmer income)|
|Weighted Program Average||$114||$140||$91||56%||53%||42%|
Our Kenya operations support farmers growing maize and beans over one long season per year, and we also offer a range of add-on products such as solar lights, vegetable seeds, improved crop storage bags, cook stoves, and sanitary pads.
In 2018, we added an additional $47 in annual agricultural profit on average over the season we worked with farmers in Kenya. Add-on products (e.g. trees, kale, and solar lamps) added another $43 to our average impact. Altogether, this represents a 32% improvement in profits relative to a comparison group.
Total profit impact declined in 2018 relative to the year prior. This was largely due to a decrease in maize prices for all farmers. However, to further drive up impact, the Kenya team is focusing on key behavior change projects to increase planting and intercropping compliance. Additionally, the Kenya program is investing in several new innovations with large impact potential. These include; locally optimized maize agronomy packages, vegetable packages, an improved poultry product, and commercially oriented tree products.
The Rwanda program, our second-oldest, supports farmers growing a wide range of crops, notably maize, climbing beans, bush beans, potatoes, and rice, over two growing seasons per year. We also offer a range of add-on products, such as solar lights and cook stoves, we have an active agro-forestry program which promises to improve soil, prevent erosion, and provide timber.
In 2018, we added an additional $98 in agricultural profit over the two growing seasons from our core program. Add-on products (trees and solar lamps) added another $26 to our average impact. This represents is a very slight decline in impact from the prior year, which we attribute to a combination of factors including, lower overall selling prices and slightly increased fertilizer costs. Altogether, this $123 of impact represents a 70% improvement in profits relative to a comparison group. Rwanda achieves higher percent improvements than many other countries because the baseline profit is relatively low.
Our Burundi program supports farmers growing maize, beans, and potatoes over two growing seasons per year, and also offers solar lights, trees, and grain storage bags on credit. In 2018, we had some difficulties in negotiating with the government which forced us to shut down the program part way through the A season, which meant that not all clients received the full course of training. In the B season, as negotiations with the government continued, we were able to distribute fertilizer to over 73,000 farmers but offered no training. Therefore, our impact estimates for Burundi are estimated based on prior years’ data and the assumption of a reduced training impact.
In 2016, we estimated that we likely added average $67 in agricultural profit over the two seasons. We further estimated that add-on products (trees and solar lamps) likely added another $11 per farmers on average. Moving forward, in addition to growing impact via new seeds and products, we are working to increase adoption of our existing practices, and collaborating with the government to connect farmers to buyers and markets where they can receive a higher price for their harvest.
Our Tanzania program supports farmers growing maize during one long season per year and also offers add-on products such as solar lights and improved storage bags on credit. In 2018, we began offering non-maize fertilizer and training for common crops.
In 2018, Tanzania had a difficult year in terms of generating maize profit impact mainly due to a massive decline in maize prices. Selling price plummeted to half of 2017 levels, which meant that maize profitability was greatly hurt for all farmers. Due to the expense of the program, this year clients made almost no additional profit on their maize crops. However, overall per farmer impact was helped by our asset-building add-on products which added $17 of impact and our insurance pay-outs which added another $9.
We are taking the reduction in maize prices very seriously. While maize continues to be our farmers' most important crop, in the 2018/2019 agricultural season we are encouraging and empowering farmers to invest in crop diversification to improve their resilience. Tanzanian clients are also offered targeted fertilizer options and training on 9 additional common crops. This reduces vulnerability to price fluctuations on any one crop while also allowing for improved farmer nutrition, reduced pest and disease load, and increased soil health.
The Uganda program was officially launched in 2016 and offers fertilizer and seed to those growing maize, as well as add-on products such as solar lights, Malathion dust to prevent damage from pests and grain drying sheets.
Similar to Tanzania Uganda was particularly hard hit by dramatically low national maize prices, which hurt profitability for all farmers. Still, in 2018, we were able to at $23 in agricultural profit for participating farmers. However, this masks the massive improvement in harvest yields (over 150% compared to non-participating farmers), which was our greatest yield improvement in Uganda to date. Asset products (e.g. solar lamps) added another $18 to our average impact, mainly from solar lights and PICS bags. Despite the modest dollar impact, One Acre Fund farmers had 47% more profit relative to a comparison group, who also did quite poorly in the tough 2018 market conditions.
To further improve dollar impact we are diversifying our farmer product portfolio to include bananas, coffee, and maize-bean intercropping across all program farmers. Through this we hope to help farmers to diversify income sources and build a deeper level of financial resilience in years were one crop is not as successful as another.
The Malawi program was also officially launched in 2017 and provides fertilizer, seed, and training to farmers growing maize, as well as the option to purchase solar lights.
Malawi struggles with periodic droughts and rain, which makes agricultural impact generation a challenge. In 2018, we improved maize harvest by a strong 70% compared to non-participating farmers. However, harvest overall were incredibly low in 2018, and some farmers experience total crop failure. Therefore, agricultural profit was difficult for all farmers. Still, One Acre Fund farmers added $7 of profit per farmer, and were paid out $24 in insurance pay-outs. We estimated that add-on products added another $4 of profit, after we revised our solar light impact estimates down in acknowledgment of increased availability of lights in the region.
In the coming year we are focused on addressing some of these challenges through various initiatives including adding a more diverse crop offering to our package and prioritizing agroforestry work to enhance farmer resilience and promoted asset-building.
Country Detail Reports
For further detailed information, please view the impact reports below: