The role of digital approaches in making it possible to serve smallholder farmers at scale
This brief looks at where and how innovations in digital technology promise to enable financial service providers (FSPs) to serve smallholders at scale. Its goal is to equip practitioners — including providers of financial services, technical assistance and capital, and business-to-business (B2B) digital service providers (DSPs) — with insights for designing and scaling credit solutions for smallholders, by (1) increasing transparency concerning the viability of digitally-enabled models for financing smallholders and (2) laying the groundwork for further research and data-gathering from FSPs that are using digital technology.
This brief is the first in the Learning Brief series. It draws on a new survey of 23 selected FSPs in Africa who have begun their "digital journey," as well as extensive desk research and interviews with a cross-section of digital smallholder finance sector donors, implementers, and entrepreneurs. It explores how FSPs are digitalizing their lending operations and early indications of the value they see, touches briefly on the customer perspective of these digital approaches, and then analyzes the challenges to going digital, providing recommendations for advancing digitalization in the sector.