18 Feb 2020
Learning Lab, ISF Advisors, USAID's Feed the Future Initiative
Rural women writing in notebooks

In 2019, ISF Advisors and RAF Learning Lab launched Pathways to Prosperity, a report about the state of the rural and agricultural finance sector. The report presents new, dynamic frameworks for accelerating progress toward closing the $170 billion smallholder financing gap. Recognizing the critical role they play in rural economies, the research included deep dives on engaging both women and youth in achieving inclusive agricultural transformation. In this Pulse blog, we share key learnings from the gender deep dive. 

11 Feb 2020
Agri-wallet, Learning Lab, IDH Farmfit
Woman farmer sitting on bench smiling

“We may have a farm but often we do not have money for farming” says Susan Gakii, a farmer who grows sorghum, beans and maize in central Kenya. As with many of the 78 million smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, irregular cash flows meant that Susan, now an Agri-wallet customer, was often unable to access the seeds, fertilizer and agro-chemicals she needed to optimize the productivity of her farm and generate the income to provide for her family.

Agri-wallet, an innovative agriculture fintech operating in Kenya, is committed to changing this. Founded in 2017 and winner of multiple awards, including the World Bank’s Disruptive Agricultural Technology Award, Agri-wallet provides supply chain finance to ensure that all actors in the value chain – including farmers, buyers and suppliers – can access the resources they need to grow and scale.  And it aims to solve this challenge in a way that is affordable for its customers and profitable for its investors – an often difficult balance to strike when it comes to smallholder and agricultural finance.

In the autumn of 2019, as Agri-wallet prepared to expand its operations, the team engaged the Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab (the Lab) and IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) to conduct a...

10 Feb 2020
Learning Lab, Fund for Rural Prosperity
Ibero Uganda Coffee Bag

The 20/20 blog series, jointly authored by the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) and Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab (the Lab), shares learnings and insights from the FRP portfolio of challenge fund winners. FRP supports businesses that are developing new products, services, or processes that can increase access to finance for rural people in sub-Saharan Africa. The second blog in the series explores lessons from Ibero Uganda.

Ibero Uganda is part of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe based in Hamburg, Germany. Ibero Uganda exports quality Ugandan coffees, with warehouses and processing facilities in Kampala and out-stations in all major coffee-producing regions of Uganda. Ibero provides farmers with an ecosystem of complementary services including access to agronomic training, inputs, and markets. In 2017, Ibero was awarded US$1 million by the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity to set up a Farmer Services Unit (FSU) within its trading operation to provide inputs and loans (a fertilizer advance and a cash advance) to smallholder coffee farmers in Uganda.