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Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide

by Opportunity International
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Agriculture Finance: Invest in Farmers Worldwide
Marie Rose on her farm in Rwanda.
Marie Rose on her farm in Rwanda.

When small scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have access to quality extension services, farming loans, savings accounts and other tools to manage cash flow between harvests, they not only increase their farming productivity, but can more easily feed their families and communities. As of June 30, 2016, Opportunity International's Agriculture Finance program has cumulatively disbursed 369,618 agricultural loans in more than 30 value chains across seven countries valued at $66.5 million. Each loan is packaged with targeted financial products andtraining in modern farming practices ensuring that farmers can achieve high-impact results. Marie Rose is one of those farmers.

Marie Rose owned a farm in Rwanda that failed to produce a bountiful maize crop. When her husband died suddenly, she could no longer afford the diabetes medication that was so critical to her continued good health. She quickly fell into a very dark and frightening place. “I was widowed and beyond poor,” Marie Rose said. “My husband left his farm to me, yet I was not educated in the modern farming ways. I was lost and alone. Then, I found Opportunity.” Grieving and in need of sound advice, she found the answers she sought when a friend invited her to join an Opportunity Rwanda Trust Group.

First, she rented out extra rooms in her home to trustworthy neighbors to generate immediate income. Next, she invested Opportunity loans to purchase high quality inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers, improving her production. In no time, she was not only growing enough maize to store for her family, but she had plenty to sell at market. The increased income has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on her ability to manage her illness, support her family and even take on the care of several local orphans. 

Transforming her maize farm in just two seasons has drawn plenty of attention from neighboring farmers. Filled with new confidence, she is certain to reach her goals to create jobs for local laborers and install a toilet and electricity in her home. With your help, Opportunity will decisively scale its agriculture services to millions of farmers like Marie Rose in the coming years.

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Martin on his farm with his agricultural officers
Martin on his farm with his agricultural officers

Opportunity International is increasing financial access and reducing poverty and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa through its innovative Agriculture Finance initiative. Four of every five Opportunity-supported farmers are achieving significant yield increases of up to 40%.

Martin is just one of these farmers who is farming smarter thanks to support from Opportunity International. For many years, he has tended to his rice farm to earn a living, but he struggled against drought and the rising costs of operating his farm as he tried to provide for his family. After joining Opportunity International, Martin received Opportunity loans in the form of seeds and fertilizer, giving him the inputs he needed to increase his yields. Martin was also connected to markets where he was assured the best prices for his crops, and he can spend less time bargaining with vendors. His loan repayment is also aligned with the day of his harvest – a result of Opportunity listening closely to our clients’ needs.

Martin continues to receive valuable training and advice from his Opportunity agricultural officer, who uses a tablet to measure his plot, track costs, monitor crop pricing and track productivity. He has already been able to save time by using his basic cell phone to manage his accounts, and in just one season, Martin increased his rice production by 1,700%. He also hired two field hands to assist with plowing, planting and harvesting, creating valuable jobs in his community. Now, Martin beams with pride when his children and grandchildren visit his farm and see the incredible progress he has made thanks to Opportunity.

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Grace on her farm in Uganda
Grace on her farm in Uganda

Grace has worked as a farmer in Uganda for most of her life, spending long days on her farm to support her six relatives and her 4-year-old son, Aloysius. Each season, she would plant coffee crops in the hopes that she could produce a harvest bountiful enough to meet all of her family's needs, but she struggled to run a profitable operation. She was not earning enough from her sales at the market to support her family and knew she needed to optimize her farm.

Grace became an Opportunity Uganda client three years ago, eagerly joining the Kanywa Nucafe, or "Coffee" Trust Group comprised of 20 other farmers. She received valuable financial and agricultural training, investing her very first loan of $150 to buy fertilizer. Since then, the changes in her farm have been substantial and measurable. Today, she has tripled her harvest from 10 bags of coffee to 30 and has diversified her farm by also growing ground nuts and maize to smooth out her flow of income. Her income has already increased, which has been a blessing to her and her family.

According to Grace, “I have sickle cell anemia which puts me in and out of the hospital; I often had to choose between medical attention and putting food on the table.” But no longer. In fact, according to her loan officer Coleb, “Grace is the best saver in her group, she accomplishes her goals and supports her family.” Opportunity's innovative approach to Agriculture Finance engages entire value chains to ensure farmers like Grace are empowered with loans and savings accounts, training on good agricultural practices, and access to markets so they can sell their crops at fair market value.

Grace's coffee crop
Grace's coffee crop
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Organization Information

Opportunity International

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Ian Haisley
Chicago, IL United States

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