Geodata and ICT solutions for inclusive finance and food security
This study ‘Geodata and ICT Solutions for Inclusive Finance and Food Security’ (PDF) commissioned by NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance, presents an overview of the possibilities and challenges of using geo-data and ICTs to improve agricultural production and access to finance for smallholder farmers. In light of a growing demand for food, smallholder farmers are crucial in supplying the world with sufficient food. Besides access to finance, smallholder farmers need more and better information for their farming decisions. This could improve agricultural production and market access, ultimately increasing their incomes and food security. Geo-data and information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as geographic information systems, drones, and cloud computing are now being used to boost smallholder’s production and their income. The publication is based on an analysis of 250 projects, you can access the ICT map with all 250 cases here. The authors identified several areas that are relevant for speeding up developments that benefit smallholder farmers and the financial institutions that serve them: 1) a good policy and regulatory environment; 2) appropriate information packages for farmers; 3) guidance and support to (rural) financial institutions; 4) high risk and long term capital investments. From this paper, it becomes clear that innovative partnerships are required. This is especially shown in the Geo for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) programme. New players entering the field and organizations that develop new services outside their traditional area of work also bring about innovations, such as telecom companies providing input loans. The authors argue that in order to catalyse the development of technologies that focus on improving agriculture and finance, even more collaboration, knowledge sharing and testing is needed.