Millions of sub-Saharan Africans lack access to sufficient high-quality food. Even where natural resources are ample, people suffer from chronic malnourishment due to lack of access to financing, quality seed, fertilizer and distribution channels. That’s why Opportunity International is working to increase regional food security by equipping small-scale farmers with the resources they need to move from subsistence to commercial farming so that they can feed their families and their communities. Opportunity provides these farmers with affordable, convenient agricultural finance services and the technical assistance they need to grow more food and increase their profits. Our strategy engages with farmers at every level of the value chain — from planting to harvesting to selling crops — to ensure their success. Our long-term goal is to support one million farmers by the year 2015.
With the help of our strategic partners and supporters, we are able to:
- Fund loans and savings services for one million farmers in Africa
- Enable expansion of satellite branches, kiosks, point-of-sale and cell phone banking for our rural clients
- Build out protections for farmer families, including tailored savings programs and crop insurance, as well as establish relationships with input suppliers and crop buyers
Alice, fertilizer vendor
With her first loan of $136, Alice Cyanzayire expanded her business by purchasing fertilizer in bulk for resale. Local farmers use Opportunity’s electronic payment system to purchase her products, and Alice provides technical expertise on their use. Alice strives to create strong relationships with farmers and work with them throughout the value chain, from input supply to post-harvest handling. A key component of Opportunity’s agricultural finance initiative is to develop alliances with all the partners that farmers need to succeed. We work with local suppliers to provide crop inputs and with distributors to facilitate the best profit margin for our clients. We also coordinate with NGOs and farmers’ groups to provide financial literacy education and training aimed at increasing yield.
Asuman, sugarcane farmer
For Asuman Kyendakulya of Mayuge, Uganda, Opportunity’s GPS plotting provides precise information about his land, including plot boundaries, altitude and access to water. From this survey, Asuman can accurately gauge seed, fertilizer and labor needs, as well as predict his sugarcane yield. GPS mapping helps farmers plan and manage their farms, increasing efficiency and income. Where farmland is often fragmented, knowing the exact acreage of their tillable land enables growers to utilize the latest agricultural practices for maximum productivity and environmental sustainability.