The John Deere Foundation is helping to provide access to financial services for farmers in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Uganda with a $2.5 million grant to Opportunity International’s “Banking on Africa” initiative, a savings-based microfinance service for entrepreneurs and farmers in developing countries.
According to Opportunity International, an estimated 80 to 85 percent of rural clients access savings and insurance services; this shows the large need for financial services in rural areas due to seasonal agricultural cycles. Access to financial services empowers small farmers and entrepreneurs with financial freedom to grow their businesses, create jobs, and support their households and communities.
The John Deere Foundation grant will help Opportunity International to create 450 new access sites, provide agricultural loans to more than 500,000 new clients, including 95,000 farmer clients, and open 1.4 million interest-bearings savings accounts, including 950,000 in rural areas.
“One of the John Deere Foundation’s goals is to help eliminate hunger through initiatives that help manual farmers move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture, resulting in enhanced security for the farmers, increased and sustainable food supplies and measurable economic growth in developing nations,” said John Bustle, vice president of the John Deere Foundation. We are excited and optimistic about Opportunity’s ongoing efforts to create a sustainable framework for enhanced food security through increased food production, food availability at local markets and family income to purchase food.”
The John Deere Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Deere & Company, a founding member of the Global Harvest Initiative.