Reaching Female Farmers and Agri Entrepreneurs in a Profitable Way

Resource from the Agriculture Finance Support Facility (AgriFin)

Anna Gincherman, Chief Product Development Officer, Women’s World Banking (WWB), presented on the opportunities available to financial institutions for expanding financing to female farmers. Anna began by noting that 59% of the population in developing countries don’t have an account with a financial institution. And in rural areas, this falls to just 22% of the population. And for women, the numbers are even lower.

However, this lack of financial market penetration is starting to gain the attention of a variety of financial institutions who believe that the rural population, and rural women operating in the agricultural sector, are a potentially lucrative yet untapped market. The challenge for banks and other financial institutions is designing products and services that are specifically tailored to female farmers. Anna explained that FIs wishing to serve this segment need to pay attention especially to social, educational, and financial factors.

WWB has worked globally to assist FIs in tailoring their products and services to women in rural areas, and female farmers and Anna highlighted some of their most relevant recent work in this areas. She explained how WWB, working alongside FIs in Latin America, had developed products and services tailored to the specific requirements of female farmers. Specific adaptations to products included lower loan sizes, repayment schedules based upon seasonality of agricultural production and general household cashflows; She noted that collateral requirements had been altered as had the credit risk assessment process, to facilitate financing of female farmers.

Of significant interest to the webinar attendees was Anna’s insight into how female farmers are more likely to provide high potential for cross-selling of additional financial products. Therefore, banks planning on expanding their services to this segment of the population need to consider the strategy for expanding cross-selling, and understand how to capture the full revenue of an individual client rather than an account.

Anna concluded her presentation by noting that while there are substantial challenges for banks to expand their services to women, the rewards can be substantial, and financial institutions interested in such an approach need to take a longer-term view to the development of this market.


Anna Gincherman, Chief Product Development Officer, Women’s World Banking (WWB)




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