Talk to 100 foundations and government offices about their solution to hunger and poverty in Africa, and you’ll find hundreds of programs that send people out to the villages to train the farmers. These programs are pushing on a rope.
Africa Eats pulls on the rope. Specifically, we invest in supply chain companies that buy from smallholder farmers. When you buy from the farmers, they then have an incentive to grow more food, they have an incentive to grow food of higher quality, and they have more income to spend on better inputs, better systems, and more equipment.
This isn’t rocket science. This the same methods that ended subsistence farming, extreme poverty, and widespread hunger in the United States and Europe back in the 19th Century.
This doesn’t mean farmers don’t need more training. All of the Africa Eats investees send experts to the farms to train their farmers. The difference between their work and the work of the NGOs and governments is in the outcomes, not the lessons. Our companies send trainers because it lowers their costs to have each farmer increase productivity rather than having to recruit, sign up, and deal with a new farmer.
That said, the total number of farmers working with our investees has been growing at a compounded growth rate above 80%. It tends to double each year, with 2020 being exceptional.
We expect to be working with (and training) over 50,000 smallholder farmers by the end of 2021 and over 100,000 farmers sometime early in 2023.
All these farmers have their income increased and their lives improved working with our companies. See Hunger, Poverty, and Finance — SDGs 2, 1, and 0 for more on that.