SAFIN impact story

Turning insights into investments: towards tailored finance for farmers’ organisations in Africa

Smallholder farmers often belong to producer associations, cooperatives, unions, and federations. Collectively organising better enables access to farming inputs, storage facilities, markets, training, and capital. Every day in sub-Saharan Africa, tens of thousands of such farmers’ organisations provide services to small-scale farmers and represent their interests with policymakers, donors, business partners and financiers.

In 2021 and 2022, farmers’ organisations across the region shared their financing challenges through a survey conducted by members of the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN).

Members of the Wowela cooperative grow rice in Nahoualakaha village in the northern part of Côte d’Ivoire. Learn more.

Insights from the survey included:

  • Detail on the unmet financial needs of 121 farmers’ organisations from 10 countries in SSA.
  • Just 3% of farmers’ organisations in West Africa accessed enough funding to meet their needs.
  • In East and Southern Africa (ESA), farmers’ organisations secured smaller loans on average than their West African counterparts.
  • Farmers’ organisations in ESA receive more funding from the government than those in West Africa.
  • In terms of financial products, working capital loans registered the highest demand.

SAFIN also conducted surveys in Asia and the Pacific, finding that farmers’ organisations in Southeast Asia secured 3.4 times the average loan size as those in West Africa, primarily from formal financial service providers. It also found that farmers’ organisations in Southeast Asia with more members secured larger volumes of finance – a correlation not present in West Africa.

Through dissemination of these survey results and related consultation sessions, SAFIN equips its members and other finance providers to design suitable financing solutions for farmers’ organisations.

SAFIN members are collaborating to design these solutions in Asia and the Pacific through a regional working group fostering access to green finance for farmers’ organisations. SAFIN will then apply these learnings to SSA.

The survey was made possible with funding from Small Foundation.

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