Part 4: One Acre Fund’s Disruptive Thinking

It is Africa’s cruelest irony that her hungriest people are her smallholder farmers. For decades, development orthodoxy had prioritized feeding hungry farmers with emergency food aid rather than improving their farming with long-term agriculture development aid so they wouldn’t be hungry in the first place.

Andrew Youn saw this paradox—feeding hungry farmers rather than helping them feed themselves—and he had his own Amua moment. He decided, “We can do better than this.” He established One Acre Fund; rather than hand out food aid, One Acre would provide access to seed, soil nutrients, training, and the financing to pay for it.

This shifted the focus from food aid and emergency feeding programs for hungry farmers to creating the conditions for these farmers to be able to grow enough food to feed their families. Youn’s mantra became: affordability, accessibility, training. Reach as many people as you can, have a meaningful impact, and do it cost effectively. He latched on to two other words as well: scalability and sustainability.

In this episode of The Last Hunger Season film series, Andrew Youn talks about the beginning of One Acre Fund, its philosophy (“Farmers First”), and its work with farmers to conquer the hunger season.

This blog post was originally posted on Outrage and Inspire Blog.