A brief insight into the key factors that drove impact in 2019.
|2016 ($ gain in farmer income)||2017 ($ gain in farmer income)||2018 ($ gain in farmer income)||2019 ($ gain in farmer income)||2016 (% gain in farmer income)||2017 (% gain in farmer income)||2018 (% gain in farmer income)||2019 (% gain in farmer income)|
|Weighted Program Average||$114||$140||$91||$96||56%||53%||42%||44%|
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, trees, vegetable seeds, improved crop storage bags, cook stoves, and sanitary pads.
In 2019, we added an additional $92 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 $10 to our average impact. Altogether, this represents a 43% improvement in profits relative to a comparison group. Total profit impact for One Acre Fund farmers nearly doubled relative to 2018 impact, which was one of our lowest years on record due largely to historically low maize selling prices. In 2019, we recovered much of this impact due to a dramatic strengthening of maize prices.
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 2019, we added an additional $88 in agricultural profit over the two growing seasons from our core program. Add-on products (trees and solar lamps) added another $30 to our average impact. This represents a very similar impact from the prior year. Altogether, this $123 of impact represents a 81% 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 2019, we added an average of $30 in agricultural profit over the two seasons. We further estimated that add-on products (trees and solar lamps) added another $4 per farmers on average. The impact from add-on products is lower than in other mature One Acre Fund countries because we were unable to distribute trees to all our farmers in 2019. We have resumed our tree program in 2020. Altogether this represents a 27% improvement in profits relative to a comparison group. Because fertilizer is subsidized and widely available in Burundi, most of our impact comes from training on improved farming practices, which can limit the magnitude of our impact in that context. However, given the depth of poverty in Burundi and 27% improvement in profits has large implications for material well-being.
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 fertilizer and training for multiple common crops such as potato, sunflowers, beans and tomatoes to mention a few.
In 2019, despite difficult weather conditions, we added an average $53 in agricultural impact and another $6 of asset impact from maize storage bags and trees. This was a marked improvement over 2018 due largely to stronger maize harvests and a rebounding of maize selling prices. To reduce impact volatility from an over-reliance on maize, Tanzanian clients are offered targeted fertilizer options and training on 9 additional common crops. In addition, an avocado tree program holds the promise for high return on investment for farmers who adopt that product. Altogether these efforts promise to reduce 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, improved crop storage bags and cookstoves.
In some respects, Uganda is one of our most successful programs, regularly doubling yields compared to non-participating farmers, and 2019 was no exception: we improved yields by 104%. However, farmers in our program areas in Uganda do not typically use improved seeds and fertilizer, so the program is relatively expensive (compared to what farmers would otherwise do). Therefore, despite doubling yields, we measured only a modest improvement of $16 in agricultural profit and $3 in add-on asset profit (e.g. from trees and solar lights). We are continuing to iterate on finding a program model which is attractive to farmers and has a high return on their investment. In the upcoming season, we are offering a more diverse and flexible catalog of products including beans, groundnuts and bananas.
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, and 2019 was no exception. While crop yields were low for all farmers (about 50% as high as the yields that we typically observe in Kenya, for example), One Acre Fund farmers nearly doubled yields relative to non-participating farmers. One Acre Fund farmers were able to put more food on the table for their families, and likely experienced less severe hunger as a result. Despite this, Malawian One Acre Fund farmers only added a modest $15 of agricultural impact and $8 of add-on impact from trees and solar. In the 2020 season, the Malawi team will explore opportunities to connect smallholder farmers to commercial markets, and support farmers as they diversify the crops that they plant.
Country Detail Reports
For further detailed information, please view the impact reports below: