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Helping innovation for Africa’s rural farm families

Despite the economic significance of agriculture in East Africa, smallholder farmers in the region are extremely poor. Many produce only enough food for their families.

These smallholder farmers' low productivity is exacerbated by a lack of access to quality inputs, financing and efficient farming techniques.

The One Acre Fund was established to extend financing, technical support and other services to smallholder farmers. In 2013, the MasterCard Foundation provided a grant to the One Acre Fund to expand its reach in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, and to strengthen its core systems and become a knowledge disseminator. In 2016, One Acre Fund and the MasterCard Foundation engaged Genesis to conduct the mid-term evaluation of this grant.

The evaluation used a mixed-methods, participatory and iterative approach. This included a review and synopsis of key documentation, interviews with stakeholders in rural agriculture financing (RAF), field observations and focus group discussions (FGDs) with existing, previous, and non-One Acre Fund farmers.

As part of these FGDs, the evaluation team made use of a pocket voting participatory approach to elicit more honest reactions to questions on the constraints facing the farmers, as well as what they found to be the most useful component of One Acre Fund’s package. The evaluation provided insights to inform strategic decisions for the organisation, as well as to inform future efforts in the broader RAF sector.

Genesis also put forward recommendations to the One Acre Fund to consider for the rest of the grant term and beyond to maximise its impact.

TOP: One Acre Fund testing different post-harvest processing methods

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