Category: Agriculture

A green revolution in Africa

Last month was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution. In 1944, Borlaug moved to Mexico to work on breeding high-yield, disease-resistant strains of wheat. Mexico adopted them — and in 1970, wheat…

Visiting smallholder farmers

With the support of the Gates Foundation, Acumen commissioned a study with Bain & Co. to understand key drivers of the adoption of agricultural innovation among smallholder farmers. Vikki Tam is the lead partner on the project. Below Vikki writes about her recent field visits in India and Kenya. This post was originally posted here. […]

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Announcing a new investment: Mekelle Farms

Acumen is pleased to announce an investment in AGFlow Ventures, the majority owner of Mekelle Farms, Ethiopia’s largest producer of day-old chicks. Mekelle Farms was established in 2010 to produce productive and disease-resistant chicks for smallholder farmers across Ethiopia. This investment is Acumen’s first in Ethiopia, a country of great potential with a population of […]

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Social entrepreneurs flourish in Africa

  As perhaps the first-ever conference of social entrepreneurs in Africa, the Sankalp East Africa conference in Nairobi in February did not disappoint. The conference, organized by Intellecap, a leading Indian company in social enterprise, featured twelve entrepreneurs from Africa…

Investments with low margin and high social return

  Photo credit: Utente Elitre Impact capital plays different roles in different scenarios, depending on whether it’s directed to early-stage, high-risk investments, more mature companies, or organizations that will likely need ongoing concessional support. In the first two scenarios, capital from impact…

Announcing a New Investment: KZ Noir

Acumen has made a $1.2M convertible debt investment in KZ Noir, a Rwanda based speciality coffee producer and subsidiary of Kaizen Venture Partners.  This represents Acumen’s initial investment in Rwanda and first in the coffee sector, a key contributor to the Rwandan economy and an important source of employment. Globally, there are over 2.25 billion cups […]

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Sharing the knowledge to improve rice yields in Ghana

As a Global Fellow, Junko Tashiro traveled to Ghana to launch Copa Connect, a social venture aimed at integrating smallholder rice farmers into the value chain. Through Eric’s story, Tashiro illustrates the power of courage, conviction, and effort. One morning, I rose for an early appointment to visit Eric, a smallholder farmer harvesting his first […]

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Engineering Solutions on ‘Demand’

  The sisal decorticator strips off the husk from the sisal leaf to expose the fibrous strands within. This simple machine can greatly increase farmers’ profits in Kenya. It’s one of the engineering stories showcased in DEMAND. (Photo courtesy of…

Small Farms, Big Funding Gap

New research from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance reveals that local bank lending to smallholder farmers – which should be a main avenue for improving their access to finance – amounts to only $9 billion. That number represents less than 3 percent of…

GADCO Announces Investment from AATIF Fund

Editor’s note: our investee company, GADCO, shared this good news with us recently.  We wanted to share the announcement with our community and congratulate them on this new funding from AATIF.
Global Agri-Development Company (GADCO), the FMCG agri-food company operating in sub-Saharan Africa, is pleased to announce an investment from AATIF (Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment[…..]

Mobile Technologies in Agriculture

By Simon Winter, TechnoServe Images courtesy of GSMA   Smallholder farmers in the developing world face considerable challenges that keep many of them locked in poverty.  These challenges stem from a lack of access to market information, technical knowledge, inputs, financing…