Spotlight: Initiative for Smallholder Finance

Published on

September 21, 2015

The Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab is pleased to partner with the Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) by sharing its research with the Lab’s community through our platform. ISF’s research -- which focuses on a range of topics in smallholder finance, from local bank lending to technical assistance -- is foundational to anyone working towards an expanded smallholder finance market.

The Initiative for Smallholder Finance was borne from a 2012 report titled “Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance,” which estimated the global demand for smallholder farmer financing at $450 billion. Authored by Dalberg with support from the Citi Foundation and Skoll Foundation, the report helped focus banks, investors, donors, and companies on meeting the financing needs of smallholder farmers around the world.

ISF was created in 2013 to turn the report’s findings into something concrete. Working with a dedicated steering and advisory committee consisting of members from across the smallholder agriculture ecosystem, ISF set out with the goal of making marked progress toward closing the gap between the $450 billion in smallholder financing demand and the current $10-20 billion supply.

To do so, they’ve focused on three areas: developing original research, facilitating connections among market participants, and scoping investable opportunities for capital providers targeting this market.

ISF’s research has helped drive a better understanding of the state of the market through a briefing note series, webinars, and infographics that cover topics ranging from local bank lending to technical assistance.

The Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab will share core ISF research through our platform, in hopes that the insights can continue helping actors across the world of smallholder finance learn from one another.

Following its initial research and development phase, ISF is now focusing on acting as a “design catalyst,” or in other words, sourcing and developing programs that prove new, potentially replicable models for providing financial services to smallholders. Drawing on ISF’s large body of knowledge and network, the Initiative will help identify and structure opportunities with market actors that have the most potential to be successful. ISF will play the neutral third-party role, working across markets and between actors, where many of the most promising opportunities in this frontier market exist.

 We encourage lab community members who come across investable opportunities in need of collaborative design support to contact ISF directly. In the meantime, we look forward to working with ISF and its collaborators to further grow the research base and foster collaboration among actors in smallholder finance as we drive our learning agenda 

See posts from Initiative for Smallholder Finance here.

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The Learning Lab works to identify and share knowledge relevant to our learning agenda and our users, but also to create new knowledge through research and facilitated learning. Original content from the Learning Lab includes news about the Lab, analyses we've conducted, knowledge products we've created, and posts we've written about other relevant initiatives.

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