Kenya: One-Acre Fund expands services to farmers across the country

One Acre Fund is a nonprofit organization that supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with asset-based financing and agriculture training services to reduce hunger and poverty.

One Acre Fund is setting up shops dubbed ‘Duka’s’ across the country where farmers can access services, products and other vital information to improve on their farming practices.

So far, the organization has set up 70 such shops across the country with eight of them set up in Kakamega County.

“We are scaling up the program to all the 24 counties where we operate from,” said One Acre Fund’s Government Relations Team Lead, Koome McCourt.

He said the shops are set up in areas that were traditionally under-served with an aim of providing access to services and better agricultural practices.

He said this comes as the organization plans to introduce macadamia and avocado farming to farmers through the buyback program.

“We are also trying to expand our product range for the future, to include more crops that will create value to our farmers. We are doing programmes on market access for macadamia and avocado which we shall buy back from our farmers,” he noted.

Until now, the organization has been supporting 64 agricultural products for its farmers ranging from 17 different maize varieties, vegetables and types of tree varieties and soil improvement varieties.

Speaking to KNA, McCourt noted the initiative will complement training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) that they have been undertaking using tablets offered to its 2800 field officers to address food security.

This year alone, One-Acre Fund has pumped in Sh5.3 billion to support more than 535, 000 farmers who are its members across the country.

The money goes towards provision of inputs to farmers. Koome said the organization is committed to ensure that its farmers are supplied with inputs across the year.

Since it was established in February 2006, One-Acre fund has invested Sh15 billion to farmers in the country with the farmer base growing to 535, 000. In Kakamega County, the organization has used Sh856 Million to its more than 89, 000 farmers.

McCourt pointed out that the organization has employed more than 2800 who were recruited from previous farmers to serve as field staff.

“All of our field staff are previous One-Acre Fund farmers. After one has been able to farm with us and we have seen their potential, been successful and have able to improve their yields by implementing best practices, we recruit them,” he said.

He said the organization runs two sets of activities classified under co-programs and improvement programs. Under Co-programs, One-Acre fund supports 64 Agricultural products.

On improvement programs, the organization runs programs that are meant to support farmers increase their yields and adopt better farming practices. It is through the improvement programs that the latest technologies and best farming practices are introduced to farmers.

McCourt said the organization is also engaged in community activities such as provision of lifestyle products like issuance of sanitary towels, provision of solar kits and small home solar systems.

“We are expanding into technology to provide more lifestyle products to our farmers to improve their lives,” he added.

He said they enroll farmers throughout the year, who are then provided with seeds, fertilizer, and all the necessary inputs that are required in addition to training.

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