Assisting farmers to end the cycle of poverty and hunger
One Acre Fund founder Andrew Youn has said that one billion people in Africa have been unnecessarily ‘left behind’ in poverty and starvation. A large percent of those who go hungry are small scale, rural farmers who rely on their yearly harvest for food and financial income.
However for decades the people of Africa have been made vulnerable by political upheavals such as civil war and genocide. Farmers are subject to these factors plus the ever increasing symptoms of climate change. Each year, they suffer through a six to eight month ‘hunger season.’ A period where food is scarce and the price of basic foods like oats and potatoes surge beyond affordability. Sometimes a family must survive on a small cup of porridge a day for each person; or nothing.
The lack of a fruitful harvest year after year means that farmers must sacrifice educating their children to instead feed them merge amounts. Children are stunted in their physical and mental growth from the lack of nutrition and many die.
However One Acre created a unique system to help bring an end to these conditions.
Beginning operation in Kenya 2006, The Fund has bought thousands of people out of the cycle of poverty and hunger by offering assistance rather than charity. Farmers are lent money for seeds, fertilizers and equipment and offered training sessions to develop agricultural techniques. When harvest season comes, One Acre facilitates markets and services which ensure farmers can sell their surplus supplies. Farmers can generate enough food to feed their families and income to educate them, and the wider community benefits as food becomes more plentiful.
As farms grow and expand, the farmers very gradually reimburse the money borrowed from One Acre. This system of repayment has helped to allow One Acre to expand its services to rural farmers in Rwanda, Burandi, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.
Rather than clearing new farmland, One Acre utilises what already exists and aims to keep CO2 levels to a minimum per farmer. This ensures that
One Acre aims to achieve the end of poverty and hunger in our lifetime and The Morris Family Foundation is excited to be a part of this ambition. The funds contributed by MFF since 2015 has helped to revive an entire community of farmers in the Western Province of Rwanda and to date has assisted 2,400 vulnerable farm families in Burundi.