ARLINGTON, VA, US – In a year characterized by falling incomes around the globe, the international nonprofit TechnoServe today released its annual report showing that its programs helped 298,000 farmers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses earn an additional $188 million in 2020. Extrapolating impact by the average household size in each country where TechnoServe works, this resulted in improved lives for 1.3 million people around the world.
An organization specializing in improving incomes for people fighting poverty around the world, TechnoServe adapted much of its training to digital platforms and provided business crisis support to enable those in its programs to withstand the pandemic’s economic damage. For every dollar spent on TechnoServe’s work, the men and women in its programs saw income increases of an average of $3.64.
With nearly two-thirds of the world’s poor relying on agriculture for their incomes, TechnoServe in 2020 helped nearly a quarter of a million smallholder farmers in Africa, Latin America, and India to improve their incomes by a total of nearly $90 million. And small businesses, which provide between 74% and 90% of jobs in developing countries, experienced income increases of nearly $100 million in the past year.
The annual report also highlights an often overlooked sector critical to many emerging economies: food processing. In their position in the middle of the supply chain, these companies serve as a key market for farmers’ crops and an important supplier to many small enterprises. TechnoServe’s efforts to help food processing companies in Africa adapt quickly to pandemic-related challenges continued work in this sector that has resulted in strengthened markets for 1.1 million farmers and an increased supply of safe, nutritious food in the region by 4.2 million metric tons over the past decade.
TechnoServe also regularly collected on-the-ground data during the past year on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs around the world. It highlighted much of this data in an analysis released last month focusing on the challenges and promising solutions for key sectors of emerging economies, the COVID-19 Impact Report: Rebuilding Global Livelihoods. TechnoServe’s annual report draws from much of that data to show the larger context of many individual stories of impact from 2020.
“We thought that the pandemic was going to affect us a lot,” said Eloy Castañón, a Mexican smallholder farmer featured in the report. TechnoServe worked closely with him and his fellow farmers to ensure reliable, profitable markets for their crops, enabling these small-scale producers to earn 87% more income than before. “We never imagined that we were going to be the ones to generate work and stability for the community.”
“At TechnoServe, we are proud that our programs were able to create so much impact even in the face of a historic global economic crisis,” said William Warshauer, TechnoServe’s CEO and president. “This reflects the resiliency of our staff and clients around the world: they were able to adapt to new realities, pivot to new business models, and identify new opportunities, even as the pandemic created an array of obstacles to their work. But we know that COVID-19 will continue to challenge the countries where we work, so our clients will continue to need our support more than ever before.”
Read more: TechnoServe 2020 Annual Report: Resilience and Recovery
TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A non-profit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with hard-working men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.
Founded over 50 years ago, TechnoServe has been named the #1 nonprofit for fighting poverty by the ImpactMatters charity ratings agency.