The fund manager perspective: Moving the needle on inclusive agribusiness

Published on

May 11, 2017

The fifteenth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance interrogate how different impact-oriented agribusiness funds combine public and private capital to build a more inclusive agricultural market. 

This report presents three insights from our research:

  • Fund managers use dramatically different approaches to develop and assess pipeline investment opportunities. Most fund managers spot opportunities the traditional way, through word of mouth and professional networks. More recently, savvy NGOs have onboarded investment teams or created their own fund vehicles to connect enterprises from their field work to investors.
  • Technical assistance (TA) plays an important role, but is tough to get right. Funds that invest in smaller agribusinesses often need TA for both the investee and their underlying small producer networks. This TA is expensive and time consuming, but can multiply impact or pave the way for future growth. Some funds, such as the African Agriculture Fund, have structured sidecar TA grant facilities to systematically deliver business and impact support around their investments.
  • The relationship between capital and fund managers matters. When capital providers with different risk, return, and impact profiles work together to structure a fund, fund managers must become sophisticated stewards of the fund’s impact agendas for them to thrive.

Note** This research is part of a broader exploration of how “smart subsidy” can be used to catalyze inclusive agricultural market development that actively includes and empowers smallholder farmers.  For those interested in further developing this perspective please reach out to Dan at [email protected] or Matt at [email protected] at the Initiative for Smallholder Finance.


About the Author(s)

ISF Advisors
Learning Lab Strategic Partner

ISF is an advisory group committed to transforming rural economies by delivering partnerships and investment structures that promote financial inclusion for rural enterprises and smallholder farmers. Combining industry-leading research with hands-on technical expertise, ISF develops practical, profitable, and sustainable financial solutions.

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