03 Feb 2015
ISF Advisors

The ninth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance is a case study of a TechnoServe project aiming to increase incomes of smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa.

According to TechnoServe’s management team, the Coffee Initiative generated several relevant lessons, including the importance of leveraging good data, committing to a long time horizon, being flexible with partners, and coordinating across the value chain.

These principles have already helped motivate other private sector companies, including financial providers, to get involved and invest their own capital and resources to make the Coffee Initiative sustainable.


01 Feb 2015
Centenary Bank building

Partnership between AgriFin and the Centenary Rural Development Bank delivers TA for improved service of agricultural market.

The partnership had three main objectives: establishing an agricultural finance department at Centenary; strengthening the bank’s capacity to deliver services to rural clients; and developing the skills of staff in order to serve agricultural clients efficiently.

By conducting a strategic review that identified growth opportunities, and making crucial operational changes, the agricultural finance department strengthened Centenary Bank’s capacity to serve agricultural clients leading to an increase in the number of clients and a rise in lending volumes.

The project also resulted in the development of innovative tools to reach and serve rural agricultural clients, such as new loan products to finance agricultural activities at different stages along the value chain, satellite branches in rural areas, electronic and telephonic banking services, and a village mapping tool to direct expansion into areas with high growth potential.

01 Jan 2015
ISF Advisors

Impact and risk metrics play an important role in efforts by investors, technical assistance providers, certification bodies, and corporations to close the over $400 billion gap between demand for and supply of finance to smallholder farmers. 

Metrics can help demonstrate industry impact, improve operating efficiency, and foster collaboration on industry infrastructure to grow the market. A well-implemented metrics strategy can also help to mitigate reputational risks arising from unintended effects on farmers and their families, communities, or ecosystems.

But the current landscape of smallholder finance impact and risk metrics is crowded with multiple units of analysis, target users, and objectives; it is confusing to industry leaders and daunting to potential new entrants. The Initiative for Smallholder Finance hopes to clarify the space and enable greater collaboration through the tools housed on this page, which are explained in our briefing document, “Smallholder Impact and Risk Metrics: A Labyrinth of Opportunity.”

The first tool, a universal theory of change for smallholder finance, seeks to build a shared...