Digital Frontiers

Agriculture

ARTICLES

Agri DFS: Emerging Business Models to Support the Financial Inclusion of Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder agriculture is highly dependent on weather patterns and prone to environmental risks. Climate change further exacerbates farmers’ vulnerability. Agricultural digital financial services (agri DFS) would enable smallholders to manage cash flows and protect themselves against external shocks. However, they often remain financially excluded. Currently, the annual financing gap for smallholder farmers is estimated at…

Promoting Inclusive Digital Agriculture: GSMA’s New Self-Assessment Tool

The GSMA has developed the “Inclusive Digital Agriculture Tool”, a new self-assessment tool to help practitioners such as agritech solution providers, agribusinesses and donors design and scale inclusive services for digital agriculture. The tool aims to realise digitisation benefits for more underserved communities such as farmers with disabilities, and empower farmers with decision-making tools and…

Idepro Case Study

Idepro believes that providing working capital loans to small-scale producers will enable them to invest in their businesses. This will result in enterprise growth while technical assistance can help producers eliminate other obstacles to success, such as a lack of business training. In the grape value chain, the focus of this case study, Idepro manages…

Digital Extension Services Improve Farmer Productivity in Uganda

In the West Nile region in Uganda, one agriculture extension worker serves 2,000 farmers, demonstrating the key role of technology in enabling access to the much needed extension and agronomic services. An inception study undertaken by UNCDF showed that the lack of access to quality extension services, is one of the main constraints in the…

Digitalizing Rural Financial Ecosystems- Journey and Learnings from Digitalization of Dairy Value Chain in Nepal

With more than 66 per cent of Nepalese dependent on agriculture, the introduction of digital financial services (DFS) offerings in the agriculture sector became essential for not only expanding the ecosystem of DFS but also to ensure progressive growth of access to finance in rural areas. The UNCDF partnership with Prabhu Management on dairy digitalization…

Climate Risk Insurance: Economic Impacts of Natural Hazards on Vulnerable Populations

The South Pacific region is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards like cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. The accelerated frequency and severity of the disasters due to climate change have disrupted economic and social progress as well as development gains. With no adequate insurance protection and coverage in the region, the economic impacts…

Bridging the Financing Gap for Agriculture Cooperatives Through Data-driven Decision-making in Senegal

In 2019, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) wanted to explore how data driven decision-making and new dimensions of information could reduce the risk of lending to the youth segment – in particular those working in agriculture – providing alternatives for those who do not have traditional credit records. UNCDF has partnered with Dimagi and…

Collecting and Applying Data on Smallholder Agriculture During COVID-19

Collecting data and understanding rural and agricultural livelihoods have always been challenging. Now, facing COVID-19 and related restrictions, understanding customers and developing financial solutions that meet their needs is even harder. To learn more, CGAP and AgriFin, the center of excellence on agriculture finance in the World Bank Group, hosted two video chats in early October with…

How Gender Impacts Insurance Perceptions

Pula, which provides accessible, scalable insurance solutions for smallholder farmers by bundling insurance with the inputs farmers already use including seeds and fertiliser, has produced a new learning report exploring how gender plays a role in registration decisions in East and Southern Africa. The report, co-funded by Shell Foundation and the UK government, uses Pula’s data on…

Digital Agriculture Maps

The GSMA AgriTech’s Digital Agriculture Maps report (DAMs), produced in collaboration with IDH Farmfit, offers a snapshot into the digital agriculture landscape in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). DAMs helps industry practitioners and potential investors understand key trends and emerging opportunities in the sector. It encourages innovation and adoption of best practices to support scalable…

Lending Volumes to Agricultural SMEs Falling Short

The 2020 CSAF State of the Sector Report reflects on the present and future impacts of COVID-19 across the agriculture sector. CSAF’s data partner  analyzed 2019 data from CSAF’s alliance of 15 lenders, which shows that lending volumes to agricultural small and medium enterprises are nowhere near what’s needed to achieve the sector’s impact potential.

Finance for Smallholders

The NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance (NpM), Rural Finance working group undertook a collaborative study of smallholder finance through or with farmers’ organisations that included 14 projects of partners in Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Uganda.

Innovative Agri-Finance Challenge Fund Playbook

The Innovative Agri-Finance Challenge Fund Playbook is a collaborative effort to assist challenge fund managers, implementers, technical assistance providers, donors and other stakeholders in managing challenge funds effectively and improving the design and implementation of future challenge fund mechanisms.

Market Scoping Study for the Digitization of the Fish Value Chain in Uganda

Over the past five years, UNCDF has been working to stimulate private sector engagement in rural areas of Uganda through digital bulk payment projects across the following five agricultural value chains; coffee, dairy, maize, seed oil and tea. The digitization of these value chains brought about significant benefits and opportunities to agribusinesses in the developing…

The Hidden Costs of Cash to Ghana’s Cocoa Sector

In Ghana, cash is the primary payment method used to purchase cocoa, with over 90% of farmer-level transactions (more than GHS 7 billion, or USD 1.26 billion) conducted using cash every year. As the cocoa sector considers its transition to digital payments, this report seeks to determine the overall costs and risks of using cash,…

Agricultural Insurance for Smallholder Farmers: Digital Innovations for Scale

Globally, less than 20 per cent of smallholder farmers have insurance. Low awareness of insurance products and the high cost of premiums have restricted farmer uptake of indemnity-based insurance services. Insurance providers have largely overlooked smallholders due to the cost of acquiring and serving rural customers. Index insurance offers ways of overcoming some of the…

The GSMA AgriTech Toolkit for the Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains

The Toolkit for the Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains is a collection of resources that illustrate how digital technologies can address pain points for farmers and value chain actors, such as agribusinesses and cooperatives, in the agricultural last mile. These resources support the use of digital technologies for digital procurement, by enabling the transition from…

Digitizing Value Chain Payments: A digital solution from Ghana

In Ghana, Tanager has been complementing the development of agribusiness markets by linking agribusinesses with ecosystems for cashless banking as a bridge between rural communities and brick-and-mortar banking services. In order to roll out mobile payment platforms across supply chains, and provide last-mile financial services to rural farmers, Tanager partners with agribusinesses, producers, and mobile…

Case Study: Strengthening Agricultural Supply Chains Through The Delivery of Financial Services

This case study by the Fund for Rural Prosperity looks at the lessons learned from Ibero Uganda’s approach to financially including coffee farming families.

Digital Credit Scoring for Farmers: Opportunities for Agritech Companies in Myanmar

Despite rapid urbanisation in recent years, agriculture dominates Myanmar’s rural economy. Sectoral challenges, like farmers’ limited access to credit and associated low levels of financial inclusion, affect farmer livelihoods and limit opportunities for growth. Recently, innovative agritech companies have been testing the use of digital technologies to mitigate some of these challenges. This report from…

Digitising Payments in Agricultural Value Chains: The Revenue Opportunity to 2025

This report from the GSMA explores the potential revenue opportunity of digitising agricultural payments for mobile money providers. Two types of payment are ripe for digitisation: B2B payments; procurement payments from agribusinesses to smallholder farmers in formal value chains and G2P payments; subsidies paid out by governments to smallholder farmers. These opportunities offer mobile money…

Experiences in Gender-Sensitive Solutions to Collateral Constraints

A common theme that arises in agricultural lending is the topic of collateral. There is shared acknowledgement that collateral requirements by most financial institutions and regulatory systems in low-income countries inhibit access to credit for smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the agriculture sector, particularly for those led by women. Conventional…

Big Data Could Mean Big Opportunity

At nearly USD 150 billion, the gap in smallholder financing remains wide, and financial institutions by and large continue to find smallholder farmers a difficult and costly segment to serve. The result is that far too many smallholders remain without access to the finance – particularly credit – they need to obtain critical inputs, make…

Agriculture and Food

The World Bank’s Agriculture and Food resource gives an insight into the innovation, infrastructure and resources they are delivering into the food and agriculture sector. There are sections on data and also reports on impact and achievement.

Digital Credit Scoring in Agriculture: Best Practices of Assessing Credit Risks in Value Chains

Farmer-level data collected from digital channels can be used to evaluate and rank potential borrowers in order of their likelihood to repay a loan. Such credit scoring models could help increase the scale and scope of lending to small holder farmers and augment existing value chain finance programs and informal lending. Several concurrent industry trends…

Pathways to Prosperity: 2019 Rural and Agricultural Finance State of the Sector Report

The last three years have seen a rapid acceleration in technology-driven innovation, which has powered changes in existing rural finance models, enabled providers to develop new service delivery models, and facilitated the bundling of services in new ways. It has also brought a more diverse influx of service and capital providers, which has reshaped the…

Unlocking Smallholder Insights for Financial Service Providers

Driving financial inclusion necessitates that we introduce changes in the very architecture of the financial sector of an economy, particularly with respect to outreach. This transformation requires as a first step, understanding the characteristics of the target segment, using extensive data collection, analysis and inference to help FSPs develop financial products suited to the former’s…

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019

Agricultural transformation is a priority in the policy agenda of African governments in their quest to meet the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, youth unemployment and overall economic growth. With the right policies, innovation and investment, the continent’s agriculture could be transformed into a powerhouse not only to feed a growing population…

Segmentation of Smallholder Households: Meeting the Range of Financial Needs in Agricultural Families

There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries. And, despite some improvement in their access to general financial services, relatively little progress has been made in financial services specific to their agricultural activities. This paper from CGAP examines the challenge of providing financial services that support the multiple goals of…

Small Holder Families Data Hub

The CGAP Smallholder Families Data Hub provides interactive dashboards which give easy access to more than 300,000 data points on smallholder families’ financial lives, drawn from nationally representative household surveys across six countries: Bangladesh Côte d’Ivoire Mozambique Nigeria Tanzania Uganda

AgriPay – the Zanaco Farmers’ Account

AgriFin is leveraging the power, convenience, and prevalence of mobile phones to help smallholder farmers boost their harvests and incomes. AgriFin employs a market facilitation model to drive scalable, commercial product innovation for SHF with agricultural ecosystem partners who include mobile network operators, financial institutions, service providers, farmer networks, technology innovators, agriculture value chain players,…

Geodata for Inclusive Finance: Data Privacy Study

This report contains key issues identified regarding the collection, storage, use, and sharing of client geodata with a focus on best practices, challenges, as well as arising open questions.

The Role of Digital Identification in Agriculture : Emerging Applications

Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty. Agriculture accounts for nearly one-third of global gross domestic product (GDP), and the majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and make a living through agriculture. To end extreme poverty by 2030, most of the income gains will need to…

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019

Agricultural transformation is a priority in the policy agenda of African governments in their quest to meet the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, youth unemployment and overall economic growth. With the right policies, innovation and investment, the continent’s agriculture could be transformed into a powerhouse not only to feed a growing population…

Endline Evaluation: AgriFin Mobile

Agri-Fin Mobile was a six-year, multi-country programme that partnered with key, local private actors to derive business models that delivered bundled agriculture and financial services to smallholder farmers. These services were intended to leverage both existing and emerging digital technologies and mobile networks to attempt to maximize impact and scale. Mercy Corps, with funding from…

E-commerce in Agriculture: New Business Models for Smallholders’ Inclusion into the Formal Economy

Selling produce through online channels enables farmers to bypass intermediaries, leading to improved income for the farmers, reduced wastage and fresher produce for customers. These benefits are particularly important in developing economies, where more than 97% of people employed in agriculture live and where the sector’s contribution to GDP is in double digits. Mobile operators…

Smallholder Households: Distinct Segments, Different Needs

The 500 million smallholder households worldwide are ready for targeted innovation and solutions, but they are a diverse group. To design and deliver high-value services, financial services providers, government bodies, and agricultural development partners should distinguish among Subsisting, Commercializing, and Diversifying smallholder households. These three segments differ according to their crop and livestock sales, amount…

DigiFarm: A Digital Platform for Farmers

M-PESA has achieved great uptake within Kenya and is including more people financially. Safaricom and Mercy Corps’AgriFin Accelerate program came together to explore how the M-PESA platform can be used to transform agriculture within the country, which employs 75% of the workforce and provides 30% of the country’s GDP. There are over 7 million smallholder…

Guide to ICT solutions for smallholder farmer

The ICT4AG Handbook, A quick guide to ICT solutions for smallholder farmers, provides an overview of the range of technologies and how they can be useful for smallholder farmers. This handbook is written with Bangladesh in mind, it is a useful reference document for anyone interested in engaging smallholder farmers to digitalise.    

Impact of Mobile Technology and Policy on Agriculture in Uganda

Mercy Corps AgriFin Mobile Program has been working in Indonesia, Uganda and Zimbabwe on establishing models where farm and crop management tools and financial services are ‘bundled’ in affordable, unified platforms on digital channels to promote mass commercial uptake. This study assesses the current situation in Uganda with regards to uptake of mobile devices and services, and…

Insights as to how to engage women farmers in digital financial services

This infographic from Mercy Corps gives six insights as to how to engage women farmers in digital financial services. These learnings are from AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) programs in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, and highlight the need for human centered design.  

Handbook: Digital Financial Services for Agriculture

This handbook by IFC offers financial services providers an understanding of smallholder farmers and agricultural value chains, and practical guidance on how to develop and launch sustainable financial services for the agricultural sector. It surveys the current landscape in terms of existing DFS offerings in the agricultural sector, to share actual market experience and lessons…

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2018

Agriculture is key to Africa’s future. The continent has most of the world’s arable land, over half of the African population is employed in the sector, and it is the largest contributor to total gross domestic product (GDP). Yet, Africa is still producing too little food and value-added products. Productivity has been broadly stagnant since…

Digitizing Agricultural Payments: Uganda’s Coffee Value Chain

This paper from CGAP tells the story of how the United Nations Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) team in Uganda worked with exporter Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited (KCL) to digitize one of the country’s most important cash crops: coffee. In addition to addressing the complex dynamics of digitizing agricultural value chains, the paper illustrates how…

Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries

This report is produced under the International Partnership Programme (IPP), a five-year, £152 million programme run by the UK Space Agency. IPP uses the UK Space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver a sustainable, economic or societal benefit to developing countries. Projects within IPP span a wide range of themes including: improving agriculture, reducing…

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2017

Agriculture is a proven path to prosperity. No region of the world has developed a diverse, modern economy without first establishing a successful foundation in agriculture. This is going to be critically true for Africa where, today, close to 70% of the population is involved in agriculture as smallholder farmers working on parcels of land…

Launching into space: using satellite imagery in financial services

This study is part of FiDA’s broader exploration of the promises and limitations of big data analytics in financial services, and it follows the insights presented in FiDA’s Focus Note, Can Big Data Shape Financial Services in East Africa? A number of the financial service providers (FSPs) and FinTechs interviewed for the Focus Note identified the value of employing earth observation…

Exploring Blockchain Applications to Agricultural Finance

This brief by CGAP explores how the technological transformation happening globally can enable inclusive agricultural finance, and bring financial inclusion to the poor. Devices such as mobile phones and drones may facilitate the digital connectivity for the world’s 500 million smallholder farming households. Download the brief here.

Can Big Data Shape Financial Services in East Africa?

The volume of digital data created by users on the African continent is growing. With this growth come new opportunities for alternative “big data” to catalyze an expansion of financial services to low-income and hard to reach populations. M-Shwari, the high profile micro-savings and loan product developed by Safaricom and Commercial Bank Africa (CBA), has…

Using Digital Tools to Expand Access to Agricultural Insurance

Risk is an inherent feature of agriculture around the globe. The ever-present uncertainties in weather, yields, prices, government policies, global markets, and other factors can cause high volatility in farm income. In developing countries, smallholder farmers (and other small enterprises within the value chain) often do not have access to risk management products such as…

Driving Innovations in Smallholder Engagement: Insights in Service Delivery and Finance

This report on smallholder engagement lays the foundations of what is possible when analytical rigor is brought to smallholder engagement. A platform can be constructed to service the needs of the private sector and bring the right tools and knowledge, so that smallholders can receive bundled packages that serve them more holistically. Through this collaboration,…

Finding the Best Fit: One Acre Fund’s integration of digital tools in Kenya

This case study from USAID is part of a series highlighting the integration of digital technologies into agricultural programs. Over the past ten years, and particularly over the past five, the use of mobile phones and Internet-based, digital tools in farming activities has sky-rocketed. This is largely due to the widespread adoption of mobile phones…

Blockchain Meets Agriculture: Supply Chain Transformation Possibilities

This is part 5 of a Digital Green Revolution (in India) series. It focuses on blockchain and its application within the agriculture value chain. Four examples are outlined to give ideas for its implementation.

Rural Finance: Recent Advances and Emerging Lessons, Debates and Opportunities

Rural finance remains very challenging and in developing countries it is generally weak, despite the efforts of donors, governments and private investors to improve it. However, important lessons are emerging from these experiences that provide useful guidelines on how to expand and make more effective the provision of rural financial services. This report examines these…

Farming for a Profit: Technical Guidance for Smallholder Financial Planning

Smallholder farmers need to understand the production costs and profitability of their existing farming systems to realize the potential of investing in new approaches. This guide to farming for a profit gives practical advice on financial skills, step-by-step instructions for calculations, an introduction to business plan development, and key resources for further reading. This guidance…

Digital Financial Services in Uganda: Uganda’s Tea Payments Profile

Uganda experiences the favourable climate that is necessary for tea growing. Tea growing was introduced during the colonial days, and by the mid-1950s, tea production and export had made tea Uganda’s main estate crop. Today, tea is Uganda’s second largest foreign export earner (after coffee), with over 21,000 hectares of land dedicated to its growth…

Crop Insurance, an Idea Worth Seeding

Across sub-Saharan Africa, small farmers are the bedrock of national and regional economies—unless the weather proves unpredictable and their crops fail. The solution is insurance, at a vast, continental scale, and at a very low, affordable cost. Rose Goslinga, a citizen of Kenya, and her team pioneered an unconventional way to give farmers whose crops…

Inflection Point: Unlocking growth in the era of farmer finance

The 2012 report titled Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance, produced by Dalberg with support from the Citi Foundation and the Skoll Foundation, characterized the smallholder finance market and identified growth pathways to address the largely unmet demand for finance. In the years since, the smallholder finance sector has made significant strides in understanding the challenges of…

Financial Diaries with Smallholder Families

How do small-scale agricultural producers manage their money, and what do their strategies tell us about their need for financial tools? Globally there are approximately 500 million smallholder households – around 2 billion people – who rely on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods. These households, who make up a large portion of the world’s poor living…

Understanding Demand, Driving Innovation: Smallholder Households and Financial Services

This paper from CGAP serves as background for the Smallholder Diaries and national surveys of the smallholder sector. It highlights the prevalence of smallholders among the world’s poor, and the substantial reliance on agriculture in low-income countries, hence the importance of increased productivity of small farms. The paper also reviews the many factors that influence…

A Well-Timed Nudge

A small “nudge” at the appropriate time was as powerful as a heavy subsidy—and may be a better policy. Critics of fertilizer subsidies contend that they promote overuse of fertilizer, leading to environmental damage and ultimately reduced effectiveness. Large subsidies are also fiscally costly, typically regressive (bene ting the wealthiest farmers most), and often necessitate…

ICT in Agriculture: Connecting Smallholders to Knowledge, Networks, and Institutions

The livelihoods of the world’s poor rise and fall with the fate of agriculture. Enhancing the ability of smallholders to connect with the knowledge, networks, and institutions necessary to improve their productivity, food security, and employment opportunities is a fundamental development challenge. Where once rural areas were largely disconnected from the greater world, today, networks…

Why Don’t Farmers Use Cell Phones to Access Market Prices? Technology Affordances and Barriers to Market Information Services Adoption in Rural Kenya

Providing smallholder farmers with agricultural information could improve economic development, by helping them grow more crops which they could then sell for more money. Widespread mobile phone ownership in Africa means that, for the first time, there is a realistic opportunity to deliver pertinent information to remote farmers throughout the continent. Efforts to harness the…

Using the Progress Out of Poverty Index in Agricultural Value Chains: A Case Study in Kenyan Tea

The Progress Out of Poverty Index (PPI) developed by Mark Schreiner of Microfinance Risk Management L.L.C. and Grameen Foundation, is a simple poverty assessment tool that collects objective information to determine household poverty levels. The country-specific PPI scorecard measures economic poverty, by focusing on various nonfinancial indicator categories, including family, housing, education, and ownership of…