One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund helps smallholder African farmers boost productivity by delivering a bundle of services directly to their doorsteps, including start-up financing, high-quality farming inputs, agricultural training, and market facilitation to help maximize profits. These tools help farmers increase their yield per acre, sales, and household income. 

Their annual demonstrated impact includes:

  • Boosting incomes by an average of 40%, translating to $115 in new profits, by helping farmers improve their farm productivity in Burundi and Rwanda.
  • Equipping farmers to achieve $316 million in new profits and assets through their full-service program and partnerships, marking over $1 billion in cumulative farmer impact generated since their founding in 2006.
  • Planting 200 million cost-effective tree seedlings, with a trajectory to reach 1 billion trees by 2030. 
  • Launching a full-scale program in Nigeria after five years of pilot operations, which will contribute towards improved food security and climate resilience.  

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Key Strengths: Scale, Durability 

Multidimensional Poverty Index Indicators: Assets, Nutrition

Other Key Outcomes: Income increase 

Recent Expense Budget: US$254,000,000

Year Founded: 2006

farmers served in 2021
in new farmer profits
generated for every dollar donated

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The problem: subsistence-level farming with shockingly low yields

Agriculture is the dominant profession of the world’s poor: 80% of Africa’s poor are rural farm families, trapped in a state of subsistence-level farming. They face shockingly low yields, but lack the resources, training, or funds necessary to increase their farm’s productivity. [1]

In East Africa’s remote farming villages, basic technologies like seed and fertilizer are often unavailable — if they are available, farm families often cannot access the start-up capital necessary to purchase them. Smallholders also struggle to optimize their farming output without proper training on agricultural best practices. Finally, post-harvest challenges like inadequate storage, pest infestations, spoilage, and market fluctuations can prevent farmers from translating yields into profits.

80% of Africa’s poor are rural farm families trapped in a state of subsistence-level farming.
Woman harvesting roots

The solution: holistically addressing the barriers to smallholder productivity

Traditional agricultural assistance programs often provide support in just one area — for example, offering a small start-up loan or subsidizing fertilizer. But distributing high-quality farm inputs yields little benefit if farmers cannot afford them or do not know how to properly use them. To truly improve farmers’ livelihoods, an organization must address all of these barriers simultaneously.

How One Acre Fund works

One Acre Fund’s model is designed to address all of the barriers to smallholder productivity. They deliver thousands of tons of high-quality farm inputs to within walking distance of every customer at the start of each planting season — and extend those inputs on credit at a quarter the size of the average microfinance loan. Throughout the season, One Acre Fund field staff deliver in-field training on best farming practices. And at harvest time, they provide farmers with the tools and knowledge to safely store their harvest and sell during the off-season for significant profit.

One Acre Fund’s success lies in coupling productive resources with comprehensive trainings and last-mile delivery, providing a complete value chain. On average, this model boosts clients’ incomes on supported activities by at least 40% within a single growing season. Furthermore, when farmers improve their harvests, they produce more food for their families and communities. By 2024, One Acre Fund estimates that participating farmers will produce enough surplus crops to feed themselves and an additional 14.4 million total individuals.

By 2024, One Acre Fund estimates that participating farmers will produce enough surplus crops to feed themselves and an additional 14.4 million total individuals.

One Acre Fund also operates a “Systems Change” platform through which it engages in partnerships with both private and public sector actors to improve the entire agricultural ecosystem. This work enables One Acre Fund to reach millions of additional farm families beyond its core program.

What makes One Acre Fund so effective


In 2018, farmers repaid 97% of their average US$71 loans, which covered over 70% of One Acre Funds’ program costs. This means each farmer only requires an average $32.72 in donations to close the gap between field revenues and expenses.


From 2016–18, One Acre Fund farmers saw an average increase of 50% in farm income, or about US$120 in incremental profit each year. They also experienced significant reductions in rates of household hunger. [2]

Rapid growth

In 2018, One Acre Fund served 800,000 farm families across seven East African countries. By 2020, that number is expected to increase to 1.25 million. 

Financial sustainability

One Acre Fund’s scalable model enables the cost to serve to decrease over time as the program becomes more efficient and generates economies of scale. 

Continuous innovation

One Acre Fund has conducted hundreds of rigorous trials on both agricultural and non-agricultural interventions ranging from crop diversity and tree seedling distribution to solar lights and health insurance. [3]

Local infrastructure

In 2018, 78% of One Acre’s higher-skilled Africa-based roles were filled by African nationals — including the CEO. By the end of 2020, One Acre Fund will recruit, manage, and deliver professional development services to over 10,000 African national employees.

Environmental conservation

One Acre Fund’s core agricultural work seeks to boost climate resilience for smallholder families via crop insurance, improved soil health, crop diversification, optimized seed choice, modern agricultural training, and agroforestry. 

One Acre Fund’s accountability

One Acre Fund has been validated through rigorous due diligence and funding from many of the sector’s leading donors. This includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Innovation Fund, Skoll Foundation, and Big Bang Philanthropy — a consortium of individuals and foundations committed to funding the best solutions to extreme poverty. [4]

In addition, One Acre Fund is committed to a robust set of internal controls. This includes financial tracking systems to monitor expenditures, fraud reporting trainings for all staff, and a rigorous schedule of internal and external audits. They publicly detail their long-term impact, methodology, and results from randomized trials, and publish annual performance and financial reports. [5] [6] [7] [8]


Recognition for One Acre Fund

In 2015, The Global Journal ranked One Acre Fund #15 on its list of the world’s Top 500 NGOs, and in 2016, One Acre Fund received the World Food Prize Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research. A 2016 TED talk by One Acre Fund’s CEO has received over 1.25 million views. [9]