In Tanzania, limited access to inputs and markets constrains the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers. These farmers are the backbone of the country’s agricultural sector. Yet nearly 40% of Tanzanian smallholder families live below the poverty line, and roughly half of all children under the age of 5 in rural Tanzania suffer from chronic malnutrition.
One Acre Fund provides farmers in eastern and southern Africa with the financing, inputs, training, and market linkages that they need to boost yields and increase profits. The organization prioritizes interventions—efforts to improve soil health, for example—that will improve sustainability and ensure strong harvests for years to come.
Why We Invest
One Acre Fund has a deep commitment to putting farmers first. It offers a suite of services that are designed for its clients’ ease of use. For example, it conducts training sessions in local villages, and it delivers farm inputs (such as seeds and fertilizer) to places that are near clients’ homes. The funding structure of One Acre Fund reinforces its farmer-first approach. Earned revenue from farmers covers nearly three-quarters of its total program costs, and that reliance on paying clients ensures that the organization remains keenly attuned to their needs.
Each year, One Acre Fund’s clients re-enroll at high rates to receive its bundle of services, and they do so because those services deliver substantial value. Internal and external impact evaluations show that being a One Acre Fund client correlates with significant increases both in yield and in income. A study of the organization’s Tanzania program found that the maize harvests of its clients exceeded the equivalent harvests of non-client peer farmers by more than 400 kilograms per acre. Across all countries where One Acre Fund operates, yield increases of that kind translate into an average annual increase in income of more than 40%.
Complementing this focus on farmers’ needs is a commitment to learning and adaptation. One Acre Fund continuously tests, adjusts, and optimizes its service offerings. Each year, for example, it conducts more than 10,000 harvest evaluations to compare the yields of its clients with the yields of non-client farmers who operate in similar agro-ecological conditions. Then, using data from that research, One Acre Fund pilots and refines programs that enable farmers to improve their soil health, diversify their crops, optimize their seed choice, and plant trees on their land. This type of continuous learning and improvement will become more and more critical as climate change poses new challenges for farmers in the coming decades.
How We Partner
King Philanthropies supports One Acre Fund’s work in Tanzania. With this funding, One Acre Fund is expanding its client base, scaling up its tree seedling program, and exploring ways to improve the dietary diversity of its clients and their families. Both directly and indirectly, this investment is helping to improve child nutrition in rural Tanzania.
The vast size of Tanzania presents both opportunities and challenges for One Acre Fund. Clients in that country tend to have larger plots of land than their counterparts in other African countries; as a result, they have greater potential to increase both yields and profits significantly. But the low population density in rural areas of Tanzania also complicates One Acre Fund’s operations and makes them more costly. The work funded by King Philanthropies will enable One Acre Fund to leverage these opportunities while mitigating the associated challenges.
Felista Luhwavi plants maize seed in Kalenga, Tanzania, along with fellow members of a farmer group organized by One Acre Fund. Photo: One Acre Fund/Hailey Tucker
Bupe Mwakipesile, a smallholder farmer in Mbeya District, Tanzania, winnows harvested maize that she will use in a meal for her family. Photo: One Acre Fund/Dorcas Tinga
Mariamu Mfuse, a smallholder farmer, harvests maize on her one-acre plot in Njombe Region, Tanzania. Photo: One Acre Fund/Dorcas Tinga
Dorice Alcado, a smallholder farmer in Kongwa District, Tanzania, weeds a maize crop on land where she uses seeds and fertilizer supplied by One Acre Fund. Photo: One Acre Fund/Dorcas Tinga
Valentina Paulo, a farmer from Kitayawa village in Tanzania, reads a One Acre Fund pamphlet that describes climate-smart farming techniques. Photo: One Acre Fund/Dorcas Tinga