KENYA – One Acre Fund, a provider of asset-based financing and agriculture training services in East Africa has signed a US$5 million loan deal with US based non-profit investment firm, Calvert Impact Capital to support agricultural needs of Kenyan farmers.

The funding will be used to enhance availability of fertilisers, seeds and green energy focused equipment, such as solar panels and environmentally-friendly cook stoves, Business Daily reports.

Apart from Kenya, the non-profit organization will lease the items to small-scale farmers in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

According to One Acre Fund, part of the proceeds will be used to fund pilot programmes in Asia and countries it has not previously served in East Africa.

“Smallholder farmers need improved access to high-quality inputs, financing, and agricultural training to achieve food security and prosperity in their homes.

Our partnership with Calvert Impact Capital will enable us to deliver services to more farmers, helping create futures of big harvests, healthy families, and rich soils,” said Jenya Shandina, a senior manager at One Acre in a statement.

The firm offers financing for agricultural inputs and green energy equipment, distribution of the items, agricultural training, crop insurance, and market facilitation to smallholder farmers in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

As of December 2017, One Acre reported total assets of US$87 million, receivables from farmers of US$10 million, and inventory including US$19 million in farming inputs and US$4.7 million in solar panels.

For 2017, the company said income for the year was at US$100 million and as of 2018, it serves 600,000 farming families.

Calvert Impact invests in companies in the affordable housing, agriculture, community development, education, environmental sustainability, health, microfinance and renewable energy sectors and is active in 100 high- and low-income countries.

Speaking on the development, Songbae Lee, Director of Investments at Calvert Impact Capital said: “This is a great opportunity for us to increase our exposure to the sustainable agriculture sector and strengthen our relationship with One Acre Fund, an organization with deep sector and regional expertise.

“We are excited to provide capital to enable them to expand the products they can offer to communities and increase their impact on the ground.”