Key Focus Areas Agriculture Finance
Malnutrition from hunger causes a wide range of health problems and millions of deaths each year. An astonishing one in four Africans - about 260 million people - suffer from hunger. Surprisingly, many of them are farmers operating at just 40 percent of their capacity. As population increases drive a growing demand for food, African farmers must increase the quality of their crops and size of their harvests. Opportunity International provides the critical financial tools and training farmers need to sustainably reduce hunger and food insecurity.
Challenges and Solutions
The Challenge: No Financial Access - traditionally, farmers must borrow money from unregulated local lenders at high interest rates to cover the costs of planting, harvesting and selling
Opportunity's Solution: Agricultural Loans - using high-tech, low-cost banking solutions to deliver loans to rural farming communities
The Challenge: Low-Quality Resources - high-quality seeds and fertilizer are necessary to maximize crop yields, but often are too expensive for farmers to afford
Opportunity's Solution: Access to Better Resources - linking farmers to suppliers with high-quality seeds and fertilizers and negotiating competitive pricing for farmers
The Challenge: Limited Agricultural Skills - farmers often lack technical assistance and training in modern agricultural techniques that improve the quality and yield of crops
Opportunity's Solution: Agricultural Training - partnering with agricultural experts to deliver crop-specific training and assistance in good farming practices
The Challenge: Side-Selling - seasonal cash flows mean farmers often have to forfeit up to half of their annual income by selling crops at an extreme discount before the harvest
Opportunity's Solution: Savings Accounts - empowering farmers to open savings accounts during harvest season to save profits for financial protection in between harvests, so they have money to meet basic needs
The Challenge: No Access To Markets - farmers must often sell their crops to consolidators at a low price because they lack access to viable markets
Opportunity's Solution: Access to Better Crop Markets - linking farmers to the best crop buyers where they can take advantage of better market prices
Opportunity International has loaned more than $49 million to empower rural farmers in Africa to better feed their families, improve their quality of life and positively impact their communities. By focusing on long-term solutions, our Agriculture Finance program is maximizing the potential of farmers to boost their harvests and improve cash flows.
In Action: Meet Mary Makkazi
Mary Makkazi is a single mother and a maize farmer in Uganda, where she works tirelessly to support her five children. With a loan from Opportunity, she was able to purchase higher-quality seed and fertilizer, improving both the quality and yield of her crops. She also received tools and training that helped her improve her harvest. Mary now produces so much maize that she was able to build a new home for her family, employ one of her neighbours and continue to build bright futures for her children.
She says, " God has been so good in providing for me. As a single mother, I often struggled to pay for my five children to attend school - until Opportunity started a Trust Group in my village this year. It has been very good to be a part of the group. We support each other [by guaranteeing each other's loans]. Our loan officer is wonderful, and all of our members share ideas, so we benefit from more than just a loan. I used my loan to buy high-quality seeds and fertilizer, and now I am profitable. I have built a house, sent my children to school and even hired someone to help me tend the land. I am so proud that I can now provide for my family."