3W just released our exit grant to One Acre Fund Tanzania. We are thrilled with the growth of the program, the continued impact to farming families, and the strong group of supporting partners that is now in place.
Currently, the TZ program serves 25,000 farming families leading to a doubling of annual income year over year. 3W, together with the generous support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Jochnick Foundation, will help increase this number to 35,000 families in 2018.
The One Acre model offers a complete bundle of farmer services and inputs in the form of a subsidized loan. Although grants are still needed, the One Acre Fund model uses a market-based approach that helps the organization remain financially sustainable and expand to reach more and more farmers every year, thereby generating a much higher bang for the buck. Of the ca $100 loan of bundled inputs and services, the interest charged covers about 70% of One Acre’s costs. The impact of the bundled loan translates to a +$100 increase in annual income for each farming family – all for a $26 grant to the model. As the team grows and learns, the model strives to become ever-more self-financing. Here is a story of the One Acre model’s impact:
Kija Katemana hadn’t ever owned much. The 36-year-old single mother of four rented both her house and a small plot of land in rural Tanzania. The little income she earned from farming and selling baked samosas in town went entirely toward food and trying to pay her children’s school fees. She always felt as if she didn’t have much to show for her years of hard work.
Each year, Kija hoped to harvest enough maize to achieve more than simply paying the rent on her land again the following year. However, her three- acre farm plot rarely produced more than 10 sacks of maize – not enough to feed her family or generate extra money to change her status quo. “Life was a real challenge then,” Kija says. “Sometimes we’d go the night without a meal. There were even times when I would have a little money from work that day, but I couldn’t find food to buy.”
In late 2013, Kija learned One Acre Fund was operating in her village. She heard they would provide agricultural training to help farmers improve their yields. So, she took a gamble and enrolled. “I had only ever used local seed, and I had no idea how to space anything when I planted,” Kija says. “I sometimes would use a little fertilizer as well, but I didn’t know how much was correct to use.”
It turned out that One Acre Fund’s training would be the key to improving Kija’s yields. When harvest time rolled around in 2014, she produced 20 sacks of maize from one acre of land. Kija was in disbelief. Since then, she’s continued to plant with One Acre Fund year after year, and slowly she has started to alter her finances. “My family can eat as many times a day as we like now,” Kija says. “My kids now are joyful knowing they’ll always come home to a meal. Before One Acre Fund, meat at our house was unheard of, but now we can have it any time we want.”
Not only has Kija been able to provide food for her family year-round, she’s also been able to invest in her livelihood. In 2014, she sold a portion of her harvest and bought her own quarter acre of farm land. The next year, she built her own house. Between the two purchases, she’s now saving roughly $12 each month that she used to spend on rent. “With that money, I’ve now been able to take all four of my children to school,” Kija says. She has also grown her samosa-baking operation, and now produces roughly double what she could before because she can afford to buy more ingredients upfront.
“Before I thought my life would be one of hardship, but thanks to One Acre Fund, I feel free of that life now,” Kija says. “I feel very confident that I am able to take care of my children, unlike before. The future I see ahead is now bright.” We extend our deepest thanks to One Acre Fund for helping to brighten the futures of so many deserving farm families across Tanzania.