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50 for 50: Investing in Agriculture: Celebrating Jane and Peter Nelson

By Opportunity International

In the early 2000s, Opportunity International began working on a new program to meet the unique needs of rural families. The goal was to provide targeted, finance-based solutions to help farmers transform their small farms into more productive and effective enterprises.

Opportunity officially launched its Agriculture Finance (AgFinance) program in 2008 to help end the cycle of low-productivity farming in rural African countries. By giving farmers access to seeds and fertilizer, connections to buyers, and training on agricultural best practices, AgFinance helps rural families build resilient livelihood through small-scale farming.

For the last 15 years, Jane and Peter Nelson have been champions of the Agriculture Finance program, providing generous funding and strategic vision to propel it forward. In May 2021, we were thrilled to present them with the inaugural Catalyst Award for their dedication, leadership, and service to rural families in Africa.

Jane and Peter first shared their powerful stories about their motivation to get involved with Opportunity International, their heart for rural families in Africa, and their experiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo in this moving presentation at the 2018 Opportunity International Summit.


This year, they shared more of their story, including their passion for farmers, their decision to invest in agriculture, and their lifelong commitment to help feed the world.

As they said when accepting the Catalyst Award, "If you help a smallholder farmer to improve his productivity, you will solve world hunger."


We are so grateful to the many families like the Nelsons who continue to invest in farmers, expand Opportunity's Agriculture Finance initiatives, and ensure that rural families are able to feed themselves and break the cycle of poverty once and for all.

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