Building agricultural finance from the farmers needs and role of Farmer Oragniations 14 July 2014

2nd_briefingWomen and Agriculture

“In Agriculture you need something different from any other sector of the economy, you need Patient Sympathetic Capital”

Background

Agricultural production is an important growth driver and backbone of most rural areas in the developing world. The World Bank estimates that two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa’s labor force works in the agricultural sector and agriculture remains the main source of livelihood for these people. Unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential could unlock the continent’s development. But the lack of adequate financial products for the world’s poorest farmers does, however, significantly reduce their ability to improve their own circumstances.

“It costs more for a bank to go out to the deep rural areas and service the farmers”. Dr Theo de Jager, the president of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO) and Southern African Confederations of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) argues that Farmers in the South of the Sahara find it difficult to get credit because 95% of the farmers are small scale farmers as such, they are not bankable.

Presentation

Key elements of session 3, 4, 5 and 6

  • Finance at the bottom of the pyramid
  • Building data collection as a Farmer Organisation service
  • Doing business with farmers and FOs
  • Action plan for increased access to finance

These sessions started with presentations on ways in which women self-help groups increase their access to financial services, and Banks presented and discussed what they look for in a client. This was followed by a panel discussion on what Farmer Organisations can do to increase their access to finance with the resources currently at their disposal before planning to expand.

FIN4AG presented an opportunity to share core competencies, learn lessons, explore possible partnerships and strengthen existing ones. All stakeholders in agrifinancing– farmers, farmer organizations, banks, financial institutions, governments, traders and development partners – now have a responsibility to collaborate even further to realize the recommendations that came from the conference. Farmers and farmer organizations must find ways to utilize the opportunity presented by the ‘revolution’ in agri-value chain financing. Governments on the other hand need to create an enabling environment for financial institutions to work more closely with the agricultural sector, especially the smallholder farmers. As partners in development, we commit to work together with stakeholders at all levels to identify and address bottlenecks, provide learning and sharing platforms, and ensure a paradigm shift does happen in agricultural finance.