BLOG Archive: May 2017


UN study: Digitization of Kenyan farmer payments helps tackle poverty

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May 31, 2017 Category: Microfinance Tags: kenya microfinance

Everline Wakhungu and Mathew Khahmba

Everline Wakhungu and Matthew Khahmba, Kenyan smallholder farmers

May 31st, 2017, Nairobi / New York – A new case study by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance shows how agriculture nonprofit organization One Acre Fund, in partnership with Citi Inclusive Finance, successfully digitized loan repayments for farmers in Kenya. This move significantly boosted transparency and efficiency, driving economic opportunity and financial inclusion for thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

One Acre Fund, supported by Citi, enabled farmers to easily make loan repayments via mobile money instead of cash, reducing the uncertainty, inefficiency, insecurity and high costs previously caused by cash transactions.

One Acre Fund can now reach more farmers with greater reliability, and staff can spend almost half as much time collecting payments in cash, using that extra time to help farmers increase their incomes through training and educational programs. With One Acre Fund’s package of services, including training and inputs like seed and fertilizer, the average farmer participating in the program earned nearly 50 percent more than peer farmers who do not participate.

Study findings include:

  • Increased participant satisfaction due to transparency and convenience.
  • Eighty-five percent decreased instances of repayment fraud.
  • Reduced processing time for each repayment from 12-16 days to 2-4 days; farmers now know immediately when their payment is received, eliminating the worry about whether it arrived.
  • Eighty percent decrease in repayment processing costs.
  • Forty-six percent of time reduced for staff working on collections, allowing for more time helping farmers improve agricultural practices.
  • Women farmers benefited especially, feeling safer about payment deliveries.

“Mobile repayments have allowed us to increase our efficiency and provide better service to farmers,” said Mike Warmington, the Director of Microfinance Partnerships at One Acre Fund. “We’re excited to be working at the forefront of this technology in the smallholder agriculture lending sector. In our experience, farmers were empowered to thrive in these communities. Clients receive immediate confirmation of payments as they happen, enabling them to better manage their businesses and family finances.”

“Citi’s footprint, track record in inclusive finance and transaction banking capabilities enable us to provide global support to leading social enterprises like One Acre Fund,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. “Among other benefits, digitization enables efficiency and security, and drives innovative and inclusive business models. Citi is proud to play a part in enabling One Acre Fund and other organizations like them to improve the livelihoods of farming communities.”

One Acre Fund is an example of the significant benefits and impact that digital payments and inclusive digital financial infrastructure, as developed in Kenya, can bring to agricultural value chains, contributing to a more sustainable and productive agriculture sector, a cornerstone of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These learnings can easily translate to poor farming communities in other countries and One Acre Fund is working on plans to expand in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia in the future.

“For companies and nonprofit organizations who want to work in rural Africa, this success story is a must-read,” said Oswell Kahonde, Africa Regional Lead at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “Digital payments are essential to building sustainable business models and creating long-term impact. By enabling smallholder farmers to make and receive payments digitally, we are creating transparency and accountability which translates to numerous benefits and empowers people to take control of their finances.”

Please click here to download the study

For information & media interviews, please contact:

  • Better Than Cash Alliance: Angela Corbalan, Head of Communications, angela.corbalan@uncdf.org, (+1) 917 224 9109
  • One Acre Fund: Whitney McFerron, Global Media Relations Lead, whitney.mcferron@oneacrefund.org
  • Citi: Patricia Tuma, Corporate Communications, patricia.tuma@citi.com

One Acre Fund Applauds Nomination of Green To Lead USAID

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May 11, 2017 Category: News Tags:

Mark Green

Ambassador Mark Green (center) | Photo: Legatum Institute

One Acre Fund is delighted with the news that Ambassador Mark Green will be nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next administrator of USAID. Green has deep diplomatic experience, and as a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, he has demonstrated a commitment to global development and to addressing the challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Ambassador Green clearly understands the issues and is a proponent of smart aid policy,” said David Hong, global senior policy analyst at One Acre Fund. “We hope he will continue to prioritize agricultural development and food security at USAID, and ensure that the agency’s resources and policies align with the needs of smallholder farmers.”

A central component of USAID’s mission is to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth. Given that 70 percent of the world’s poorest people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, this mission is best met when smallholder farmers are put at the center.


How One Kenyan Farmer Beat Last Year’s Drought

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May 02, 2017 Category: Farmer Profile Tags:

Winrose Wachiye

Winrose Wachiye beat last year’s drought in Kenya in part because of techniques she learned from One Acre Fund.

Winrose, a 43-year-old smallholder farmer from Kapchai Muyayi village in Western Kenya, grows six different kinds of crops on her two acres of land, including maize, beans, and millet. She learned about the importance of crop diversity from One Acre Fund. Last season, she also attended training sessions about how to improve her soil’s fertility by using compost and an intercropping planting method, in which maize and beans are sown in alternating rows in the same field.

Both her maize and bean crops were growing strongly until late in the season, when a heat wave during the maize plants’ vulnerable pollination period compounded the effects of drought. Most of her maize withered, but the beans kept on growing. She ended up having the biggest bean harvest she’d ever seen.

“I never harvested so many beans as I did last year,” Winrose said. “If the rains had been normal, I would have gotten even more.”

Winrose expects that her family will have enough food to eat this year, in spite of her maize losses, because she didn’t rely on a single crop. Many farmers across Eastern and Southern Africa weren’t as lucky. Last year’s drought has led to short supplies of food and increasing prices in a number of countries, according to the United Nations, worsening the effects of the annual hunger season, a time when many families run out of food from the past year, but new crops aren’t yet ready to harvest.

Extreme weather does not discriminate – both farmers enrolled with One Acre Fund and those who aren’t were affected by last year’s drought. However, One Acre Fund farmers in many cases were able to outperform their neighbors because they used better inputs and more efficient farming practices.

Winrose holds millet and beans

In addition to her beans, Winrose also harvested a big crop of millet, a grain that’s more drought-resistant than other crops. She first received millet from One Acre Fund in 2013, when the organization offered it during a maize disease outbreak, and she’s planted it annually ever since.

Without income from selling maize, Winrose expects that finances will be a little tighter around her house this year. But the family should still be able to afford school fees for their five children, including two who are in a more expensive private school, she said. Winrose is also convinced that the return of rains will bring a better harvest this season.

“Just because we had drought last year doesn’t mean it will be the same again this year,” she said. “Last year was a challenge, but every year is different.”


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