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How We Grow

We serve farmers as customers, which gives them a strong voice in our operations.

Our business is improving the lives of our customers. Guided by our mission, we use the discipline of a business to deliver cost-effective services to millions of people. We believe that heart plus rigor can change the world. Here are the principles that have driven our expansion.

Scale

Each year, we ensure that more and more families can access life-improving farm services. When One Acre Fund was founded in 2006, we began with a pilot group of 38 farmers in Kenya. In March 2020, we surpassed the one million farmers milestone!

One Acre Fund Scale Graphic

Efficiency

We put every dollar towards what’s best for farmers. We have a blended-revenue model: about 70% of our field expenses are financed through farmer purchases, with donor dollars covering the rest.

Farmers voluntarily select and purchase our services because they find them valuable. Farmers are willing and able to pay for our services: 97% of customers repay on time each year.

As we grow, we aim to increase the sustainability of our field operations over time. This means farmer purchases will fuel most of our future growth, without additional donor funding.

2017 2018 2019
% of farmer loan repayment 98% 97% 97%
% field sustainability 69% 71% 73%

Impact 

We deliver impact as our bottom line. Farmers choose to work with us because they see growth in their crop yields and incomes. We compare the incomes of One Acre Fund farmers relative to their peers. 

We rigorously measure both the value of a harvest each year (the price of crops sold at market), and the net present value of assets built over time (such as trees and livestock). While harvests can fluctuate with the weather, building assets helps farmers diversify their incomes and build resilience.

2017 2018 2019
$ gain in farmer income $140 $91 $96
% gain in farmer income 53% 42% 44%

Trust

We put Farmers First in everything we do. Our field leaders live and work in the communities they serve. Farmers trust our field staff because they are often their neighbors, and farmers themselves. 

As our team has grown -- from 5,400 full-time staff in 2016 to more than 8,300 staff in 2020 -- 95% of our jobs are based in rural areas, creating significant new opportunities for formal employment. In Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, we are one of the largest rural employers in the nation.

Group Pic Option - All Staff Appreciation Day, Rwanda

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Delivering a Health Response to COVID-19

At a time of a global health crisis, we are drawing on our deep delivery expertise and trusted community ties to respond to emerging farmer needs.

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