Everest and Joyce are a young farming couple living in Kagabiro village, Rwanda. They grow maize, beans, coffee, and bananas, but for years their efforts were unsuccessful. From 30kg of bean seed, they only harvested a meagre 40-50kg. To receive training, support and access to inputs, they decided to join the One Acre Fund.
In her first season with One Acre Fund, Joyce planted 2kg of beans, and harvested 100kg, one of her best harvests ever. She attributes the increase in her harvest to the quality bean seed and the training she received that taught her how to plant beans in rows, and how to space her seeds along those rows.
One Acre Fund provides a planting kit to farmers that costs a little over US$0.50. By planting seeds correctly, farmers can improve their maize yields by 10%, representing a US$30 increase in income. The kit contains a fertiliser scoop for microdosing, a planting string and a top dressing stick. The planting string is 40 metres long with spray-painted markings every 25cm to mark where each seed should be planted. The string is faceted at each end between two sticks. This solves a major problem with inappropriate spacing, whereby farmers typically just drop seeds as they walk along the row, more or less dropping one seed per stride, but rarely with any consistency.
The top dressing stick is a 75cm long pipe with a large nail drilled through one end. The rod serves to measure the proper distance between rows (75cm), by placing the rod on the soil to mark where the next row should start. The nail is used to create a hole several centimetres from the stalk where the fertiliser is applied. Using the One Acre Fund planting method, Joyce was able to store the beans at home to feed her 3 children.
During the same season, Joyce and Everest also planted maize. They used the One Acre Fund planting method for spacing their maize seeds in the field, and they applied microdoses of fertiliser to each individual seed hole. They produced their largest harvest ever and sold their surplus maize for RwF50,000 (US$83).