Briefing Notes

ISF Briefing Notes share targeted research on specific topics of relevance to rural agricultural finance.

Assessment of investment funds supporting tropical forest areas and communities

Explores impact funds focused on forest-dependent communities and smallholder farmers, identifying best practices, gaps, and opportunities for investment to share with the broader impact investing community.

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Role of Government in Rural and Agri-Finance: Transitioning to private sector involvement

Building on our 2014 analysis of the natural stages of agricultural finance, this briefing note interrogates more deeply the transition that countries make from government-led to more bank-led agricultural finance. View and download the full briefing note below, and read the case study compendium here.

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Getting Smarter on Subsidy: The role of grant funding in smallholder finance

Assesses the role of grant funding in smallholder finance to understand how it can be used to unlock financing for millions of smallholders.

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The Fund Manager Perspective: Moving the needle on inclusive agribusiness

Interrogates how different impact-oriented agribusiness funds combine public and private capital to build a more inclusive agricultural market.

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Financial Inclusion Fit to Size: Customizing digital credit for smallholder farmers in Tanzania

Explores the causes of low uptake in digital credit for smallholders to better understand how we can develop concrete product solutions to jump-start adoption of digital credit products by them.

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The Climate Conundrum: Financing smallholder productivity and resilience in the age of climate change

Explores the latest practices from the climate finance community and the agricultural finance community to understand how new combined models can boost returns and attract new investors.

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Unlocking Local Currency Lending: Foreign exchange risk in agricultural finance

This briefing note suggests that, if used correctly, philanthropic investment can play an influential role in mitigating foreign exchange risk.

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The Rise of the Data Scientist: How big data and data science are changing smallholder finance

Explores how innovative lenders are using new data sources and analytics to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers.

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Value Chain Financing: How agro-enterprises can serve as alternate aggregation points for delivering financial services to smallholder farmers

Explores three channels through which value chain financing models can be delivered, and identifies how these models can group “enablers” to best serve smallholders.

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Lending a Hand: How direct-to-farmer finance providers reach smallholders

Provides detail on how 150+ finance providers are offering finance directly to smallholder farmers.

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Case Study: The return on investment from TechnoServe’s coffee initiative

A case study of a TechnoServe project aiming to increase incomes of smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa.

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Rethinking Technical Assistance to Unlock Smallholder Financing

Discusses how agricultural technical assistance in the developing world maps to addressing various specific financing constraints for smallholder farmers.

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Technical Assistance for Smallholder Farmers: Anatomy of the market

Categorizes and characterizes the different kinds of agricultural technical assistance in operation in developing countries around the world.

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Investor and Funder Guide to the Agricultural Social Lending Sector

Examines current lending practices among social lenders, considers the future trajectory of the sector, and highlights opportunities for investors and funders to support the sector’s future growth.

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The Role of Government in Developing Agricultural Finance: A look at the history of Germany, the US, and South Korea

Reflects on the role of capital markets within the context of historical agricultural sector development.

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Smallholder Impact and Risk Metrics: A labyrinth of opportunity

Takes stock of the existing landscape of smallholder impact and risk measurement and devises tools and suggestions to align these efforts for greater future impact.

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A Roadmap for Growth: Positioning local banks for success in smallholder finance

Explores what is required for a healthy, competitive smallholder banking sector, and investment opportunities for public and commercial funders seeking to support smallholders.

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Local Bank Financing for Smallholder Farmers: A $9 billion drop in the ocean

An overview of the market size and scope of local bank lending to smallholder farmers.

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