The SME Finance Forum has created a Community of Practice on Agrifinance, a group of AgriFinance experts and practitioners from member and non-member institutions, to discuss experiences and document good practices and innovations in the field. One main objective of this CoP is to promote learning and sharing of good practice examples that help members improve their offering and better serve the Agri-SMEs.
The AgriFinance CoP is organizing the next member-only meeting on April 20th, 2022 at 8 a.m. EDT. Recognizing the importance of climate risks in agriculture and the role of agriculture in total emissions, members of the CoP for Agricultural Finance expressed interest in focusing the April 2022 CoP meeting on the topic of financing climate smart agriculture. Climate change and climate risks are the main reason for the perceived high risks in agricultural finance. Climate smart agriculture provides ways to improve productivity while at the same time making agriculture more resilient to climatic risks and less poluting. This also reduces the riskiness of clients in the agricultural sector that invest in such technologies. Climate risk mitigation and adaptation are becoming key focus areas for financial institutions, particularly when it comes to lending to agriculture, a sector that is vulnerable to climatic risks. Climate smart agriculture, improve risk management but also provides new opportunities for financial institutions to expand their lending into a new area.
The CoP meeting in April will start by presenting the case for climate smart agriculture finance. Following this introduction, a panel of two to three members will discuss their experiences in promoting climate smart agricultural finance focusing on both challenges and achievements. After the panel, a moderated discussion amongst CoP members will follow.
Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum
Panos Varangis is currently the Principal Operations Officer at the Financial Institutions Group, IFC. Prior to that Panos led IFC’s work in advising financial institutions to provide financial services to SMEs, agribusinesses, and farmers. Before joining IFC, Panos served as the Deputy CEO of the Agricultural Bank of Greece (2004-2009). From 1987 to 2004, he worked at the World Bank in various positions at the International Commodities Division, the International Trade Division, the Bank’s Research Department, and finally at the Agricultural and Rural Development Department where he oversaw a global program on commodity risk management. Panos holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University in New York.
Toshiaki Ono is a senior financial sector specialist at the World Bank where he supports various lending projects and analytical work to promote access to finance in the agriculture sector mainly in Africa and Asia & Pacific. Prior to joining the World Bank, Toshiaki held several positions at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) where he worked for agriculture finance and agribusiness development projects in South Asia and Africa. He also has practical experience in debt financing and investment banking through his earlier work at the Development Bank of Japan and Nomura. Mr. Ono holds an MBA from Columbia University in New York.
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