06 Aug 2012
Opportunity International

Opportunity blog post in 2012 on its use of mobile banking vans:

Opportunity International’s mobile banks bring high ­impact financial services to the doorsteps of rural farmers.  With 23 banking vans, each with the capacity to serve up to 5,000 clients in rural villages, the mobile banking service enables clients to deposit savings and access their accounts within walking distance of their homes and businesses.

These innovative on­-the-­go banks not only save farmers the cost and time spent traveling to far off bank branches, but provide a safe place to deposit daily earnings. 

08 May 2012
SCOPEinsight

SCOPEinsight and The Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO) are partnering to improve access to financial services for SMEs in Ethiopia.  

In Ethiopia financial institutions fail to provide sufficient services to agricultural SMEs in large part due to poor market transparency and limited access to information about farmers. CBO has emerged as a private bank that raises resources from private and public institutions in order to support agricultural SMEs. In this partnership, SCOPEinsight will conduct assessments of the organizational performance of the agricultural cooperatives, rating their creditworthiness, professionalism, and sustainability. In this way CBO and SCOPEinsight will bring more transparency to the marketplace for agricultural finance and lower the risk to potential business partners.

30 Mar 2012
Opportunity International

A 2012 report introducing Opportunity International's model for financing smallholder farmers:

Across Africa, a lack of access to finance for farmers limits the continent’s ability to take advantage of its abundant natural resources for food production. Smallholder farmers without collateral are unable to access the finance needed to purchase improved seeds, fertilizers and chemicals to optimize productivity.

Past efforts to finance agriculture in Africa have generally failed due to inappropriate lending policies, a disregard for external and internal market influences, a lack of understanding of farmers’ household pressures and a lack of coordination among key stakeholders. Sustainably financing agriculture in Africa requires comprehensive interventions that bring together various actors across value chains in order to meet the needs of different farmers.

In 2005, Opportunity International, in conjunction with the World Bank, launched an agricultural finance pilot in Malawi. Today they provide a range of financial services to smallholder farmers in Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda and Uganda as well. Their strategy involves a comprehensive analysis with four key components:

  1. An assessment of the farmer’s commercial potential based on the land size and household profile;
  2. Partnerships and engagements to support players in the value chain including suppliers, NGOs, smallholder farmers, warehousing...