Behind every dataset, there’s a story waiting to be told. When it comes to farmer finance, that story centers on the untapped US $200 billion smallholder finance market. The numbers highlight a massive opportunity – if financial service providers (FSPs) and investors have access to transparent and credible market data.

But like all stories, it’s not that cut-and-dried. Globally, there are 450 million smallholder farmers in need of better financial products, which can enable them to rise out of poverty and contribute to feeding the world’s growing population. But while most industries would see 450 million eager consumers as a compelling market opportunity, efforts by FSPs to reach smallholders have had a limited effect, in part due to insufficient market data.

There’s good news though: Earlier this year One Acre Fund and MIX with support from the Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab (the Lab), launched the Smallholder Finance Product Explorer. This online resource – housed on the MIX Market platform – aims to help FSPs design better products and help investors identify new investment opportunities by providing access to operationally useful information on smallholder finance products. With more detailed data, FSPs can inform product development and investors can identify partners to better meet the financing needs of smallholder farmers.