Rural poverty is complex and there isn’t a single solution to the problems smallholder farmers face.
One Acre Fund a non-profit social enterprise that take a holistic, long-term approach to fighting rural poverty – offering services including financing for seed and fertiliser, distribution of farm inputs, training on agricultural techniques and market facilitation to maximise harvest profits.
By supplying financing and training to smallholder farmers One Acre Fund help them grow their way out of hunger and build lasting pathways to prosperity. Virgin Unite is a proud supporter of One Acre Fund and share in their mission to generate positive impact on the lives of communities in need.
The team from One Acre Fund recently reflected on the key mechanisms they have in place to ensure they’re constantly learning from the farmers they serve.
Their methods ensure that the team incorporate farmer feedback into their programmes – transforming farmers from passive beneficiaries to engaged participants, actively shaping solutions to end hunger and poverty in their homes and communities.
Method 1: Farmers as staff
Farmer perspectives are embedded into programme structures by virtue of the fact that farmers make up the majority of staff. Farmers comprise roughly 90 per cent of One Acre’s 3,000 field operations staff.
Method 2: Farmers as paying clients
Treating farmers as clients and asking them for partial payment for services is a useful tool for strengthening their say in how One Acre operate. If the quality of service in a particular area drops, they immediately see a drop in repayment levels, which sends a clear signal that something needs to be fixed. Farmers can then “vote with their feet” and choose not to enroll if they find that One Acre Fund’s offerings are not worth their cost.
Method 3: Farmers as co-innovators
Farmers play an active role in product R&D process and are asked at each stage of the process for feedback on what worked and what didn’t. Incorporating farmer opinions into their innovation process has led One Acre to think about the adoptability and simplicity of products, rather than just their theoretical impact.`