Tony Kalm

One Acre Fund
Year founded: 

One Acre Fund has designed and proven an integrated, market-based approach that enables any poor farmer, many of which live from meal to meal, to double farm profits in one planting season.

Focus: Agriculture
Geographic Area of Impact: Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 130,000 (2012)
Annual Budget: US$ 21 million (2012)
Percent Earned Revenue: 55%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013

Rural farmers make up 75% of the global poor. Many farm families endure an annual 3-6 month “hunger season” of meal-skipping and meal-substitution, causing high rates of child mortality and illness. In rural East Africa, 10% of our children do not survive until age one, and half of those surviving fit the international definition of “physically stunted.” The struggle of farm families presents both a unique humanitarian opportunity and a complex challenge. On the positive side, the majority of the world’s poor are farmers, and share strikingly similar characteristics. This uniformity presents an opportunity. However, the corresponding challenge is that poor farmers live in extremely rural areas, where there exists a “market void.” Traditional services fail to have impact with a population that needs support in more than one area. For example, if rural farmers are not linked to financial services, they are unable to purchase high-quality seed and fertilizer locally. Even if farmers are linked to training and they succeed in producing a strong harvest, they are unable to connect to profitable markets to sell their surplus. This “market void” sets the stage for subsistence-level farming, chronic hunger, and devastating poverty.

Innovation and Activities
Since 2006, One Acre Fund has been working to serve rural farm families. One Acre Fund offers a unique “market bundle” to bring a functioning value chain directly to rural farmers. The market bundle includes: 1) high-quality seed and fertilizer to grow primarily staple food crops like maize and beans, 2) financing, 3) weekly farm training led by an extensive network of local field officers, and 4) post-harvest and market support including training on household storage practices to minimize post-harvest crop loss. Through this combination of services, farmers permanently transform their livelihoods – from poverty to profit-generation.

One Acre Fund strives to help every farmer attain the tools, knowledge, and support to satisfy their most basic needs. To achieve this goal One Acre Fund has positioned itself for rapid growth and expansion with a focus on three metrics: