What farmers need
Rural farm families need a reliable way to build long-term assets in addition to increasing seasonal harvests, which can fluctuate each year. This need for stability has only grown as supply chain challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic – alongside regional conflicts and climate shocks – have driven significant price inflation for fuel, food, and farm supplies.
Agroforestry–the practice of planting trees alongside crops–is one of the most powerful and environmentally impactful tools we have to reduce poverty. Planting trees is a sustainable, reliable pathway to a stable income for farmers, not only directly through increased income, but also through co-benefits like improved soil health. When planted alongside crops, most varieties of trees contribute significantly to soil health by controlling erosion, improving the soil’s ability to absorb water, and maintaining a high level of organic matter, as well as fixing nitrogen. Trees can also play an important role in improving biodiversity.
What we do
Smallholder farmers already have the skills, incentives, and farmland to plant trees – they lack only the supplies and specialized training to succeed. One Acre Fund offers a comprehensive tree package that supplements seasonal harvests, providing stability for farmers and at the same time empowering them to help protect the environment.
Our process for introducing new tree species takes into account local ecosystems, farmer preference, pest and disease issues, and other environmental factors, allowing us to optimize for on-the-ground conditions.
While many mass-scale tree-planting initiatives in Africa focus on government reforestation efforts or commercial plantations, One Acre Fund’s model is community-led, relying upon – and directly benefiting – rural farmers. Our frontline staff are recruited from the communities we serve, and we are increasingly equipping local tree nursery entrepreneurs to professionalize and expand so that they are able to supply quality tree seedlings to us.
The impact of our tree program
Every tree that a farmer plants pays for itself many times over. When income from other sources is scarce, trees can provide a reliable safety net for rural farm families. How do we know this? One Acre Fund uses a highly rigorous methodology to estimate the financial value to farmers of our tree-planting program, counting only surviving, additional trees.
Every $1 invested in this work by donors in 2022 generated $12 of asset value for participating farm families (this is what we call social return on investment, or SROI).
The number of tree species delivered in 2022. Tree species diversification is a top priority for One Acre Fund. We offer at least three context-appropriate species in every agroecological zone we reach.
The number of trees planted in 2022 by 2.8 million smallholder farmers in our programs; a nearly 50% increase from 2021.
Tree impact by country
One Acre Fund runs scaled tree programs across eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Here we share the latest updates on each program from 2022.
For the thousands of smallholder farmers we work with, growing trees can offer an incredible return on investment in just a few years.
Though his neighbors question James' decision to plant Grevillea trees, he knows his hard work will pay off.
Investing in trees might not sound like the most exciting investment, but trees can offer financial and social returns for years to come.
Invest in Farmers
Smallholder farmers hold the key to a brighter future. Help us serve even more farm families today!