The Digital Financial Services for Agriculture Handbook is the latest addition to our popular series of DFS Handbooks. It offers practical guidance to financial services providers on how to better understand smallholder farmers and other actors in the agricultural value chains in order to successfully develop and launch sustainable financial services for them.
Despite the important role of smallholder farming households, they remain largely excluded from the formal financial system. Recent estimates put the demand for smallholder farmer financing in excess of $200 billion for approximately 270 million smallholder farmers in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. Beyond access to working capital, smallholder farmers and other agri-value chain actors lack financial products – savings, insurance, and payments – appropriately tailored to their needs in terms of design, accessibility, and affordability.
The spread of DFS and information technology offers new ways of approaching agricultural development. This new handbook combines information on how digital technology has changed the provision of financial and information services for agricultural value chain actors, sharing lessons learned and experiences by some of the pioneers in the market. We hope that it will reach a broad industry audience at an opportune time, considering the pace of digital innovation and the importance of the agricultural sector to the economies and future of Sub-Saharan Africa.
This is the fourth handbook on how to develop digital financial services published by the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and the Mastercard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.