Finance for Smallholder Farmers: A new set of expert meetings
After three successful expert meetings last year, firstly in Rwanda on January 24, then in Burundi on February 12 and later in Ethiopia on April 28, the Dutch Platform for Inclusive Finance (NpM), AgriProFocus and the Food and Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) have organized another series of expert meetings on their research, “Finance for Smallholders”. The meetings will take place in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania between July 21-29, 2016, and will focus on sharing knowledge and lessons learned from the recent report, “Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for risk management by linking financial institutions and producer organizations”. The outcomes of this study are highly useful for the improvement of smallholder financing models in various parts of the world.
The NpM Rural Finance working group decided in February 2014 to research which bottlenecks exist for finance smallholders, and thereby identified opportunities for risk management through linking financial institutions and producer organizations in Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Uganda. The research has been carried out in cooperation with AgriProFocus and the Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR), and was funded by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform. An important objective of this research was to disseminate the study results and lessons learned. Throughout 2015, the results were shared online, during meetings and conferences, and at expert meetings that took place in Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.
Expert Meetings 2015 in Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia
Approximately 50 participants attended each of these expert meetings with a participating audience of financial institutions, producer organizations, NGOs that work with producer organizations, government agencies and donors.
In all three countries, the presentation of the study, the lessons learned and group discussions were highly appreciated. The issues raised were remarkably similar to the different stakeholders present at their respective countries. Some of the most relevant observations were:
- The need for appropriate financial services for agriculture and with it, the need for financial institutions to understand agriculture and have in-house agricultural expertise.
- The lack of capacity and business orientation of producer organizations, hence the need for capacity building interventions.
- The need for a long term sustainability vision of NGOs and producer organizations.
- Notice of market distortion by NGOs and sometimes donors and government.
- The need for an appropriate legal and supervisory framework (this was a higher priority in some countries such as Burundi.
- The need for information and communication between actors. The platforms of AgriProfocus and the microfinance networks could play a role in this.
The participants from the different meetings all wanted to continue communication between stakeholders in some form or another. Mutual expectations were high and there are also expectations of donors to play a facilitating role in communication, facilitation and capacity building.
One of the spin-offs generated from these expert meetings were requests for additional expert meetings in other countries, including the request to translate the report into French. Moreover, international donor organizations (such as ADA, FAO) have asked to use this research for specific purposes, including training sessions. In response, a new set of expert meetings will take place in July 2016. Please see the schedule below for locations and dates.
Expert Meetings Schedule 2016
Uganda: Thursday July 21
Tanzania: Tuesday July 26
Kenya: Thursday July 28
Benin and Mali: September/October (dates to be confirmed)
Burkina Faso and Senegal: October (dates to be confirmed as part of the ICCO MasterCard Foundation STARS program, as financed by the MasterCard Foundation).
- 1. The French edition of the report is soon to be published and will be available soon.