An estimated 500 million smallholder farming households (representing 2.5 billion people) rely to varying degrees on agricultural production for their livelihoods. They represent the largest client segment by livelihood of those living on less than $2 a day. 

Financial institutions seeking to work in rural areas or provide agricultural financing face numerous constraints, such as poor infrastructure, dispersed demand, crop price and yield risks, and collateral limitations. Moreover, the main products of many microfinance institutions—short-term working capital loans with frequent expected repayments—are not well-suited to longer-term agricultural activities, nor the resulting seasonality of the cash flow of rural households.

However, improvements in technology, new service delivery models and digital finance innovations are making it increasingly viable for providers to reach people in rural areas sustainably and effectively. In addition, new research, including smallholder financial diaries, has helped to improve our understanding of the financial needs of individuals requiring rural and agricultural finance.

What can you find in this Topic Hub?

Curated by FinDev editors, this Topic Hub offers you access to key resources contributed by organizations around the world who work on the topic of rural and agricultural finance. Our latest blogs and publications on this topic are featured here (in the Resources Tab above), and you can find a collection of papers, case studies and guides to explore further. When there are upcoming webinars, events and recent news on this topic, they will be featured in the Topic Hub as well, so make sure to come back regularly for the latest on this topic. Finally, we’ve selected some key additional resources, which are listed on the right here, where you can learn even more about this topic.

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This report draws upon data from the portfolios of 17 financial institutions to share market insights and reflections on 10 years of practitioner collaboration.

Case Study

This document summarizes the findings of a survey OKO, an insurtech in Mali conducted with ADA's support, and the lessons learned from the project.