Tackling poverty with social enterprise
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Despite the promising economic growth exhibited by African nations in the last decade, the spectre of food poverty still looms large. It’s not just shocking famines that afflict the continent: on a more prosaic level, day to day, one in four African citizens goes hungry. With Sub-Saharan Africa’s population set to double by 2030, the issues of food production and access to food need to be met head on. In East Africa, imaginative initiatives are working throughout the supply chain to do just that.
It is a tragic irony that despite owning the very assets that could feed them, it is the farmers of the world who often go the hungriest. There are a number of organisationsthat focus on sustainable and long-term solutions to food poverty in East Africa by promoting local food production.
The social enterprise One Acre Fund has supported more than 135,000 subsistence farmers in East Africa through a “market bundle” approach to date. This appraoch empowers local farmer groups and provides them with agricultural education, loans for planting materials, market training and crop insurance. The model has more than doubled the profit on every planted acre, enabling farmers to repay loans while retaining excess profit for themselves and their families.