Published on

September 30, 2019

The Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab is thrilled to take ownership of the Smallholder Finance Product Explorer, a project funded by the Mastercard Foundation & the Open Society Foundations, and implemented by One Acre Fund and MIX from 2016-2019. Integrating this dataset with the Lab’s current data platform will ensure users have easy access to a one-stop-shop for critical smallholder finance data. 

Limited information on smallholder finance product design has historically prevented financial service providers from meeting the financing needs of smallholder farmers.

With over 450 million smallholder farmers globally, these farmers and their households need access to financial services to help increase farm productivity, reduce their vulnerability to unexpected shocks, and improve their livelihoods. Yet the current supply of financing available to them, ~$50 billion, represents only a quarter of the estimated total need of this population. Part of the issue is that financial service providers face high resource constraints to develop and deploy financial products that meet the needs of smallholder farmers.

The Smallholder Finance Product Explorer sought to catalyze product development and innovation by improving the quality and availability of data that helps drive product development. It contained operationally useful and practical data, to inspire the creation of new products and support the improvement of existing ones. The Smallholder Finance Product Explorer allowed financial service providers to showcase their work to investors on MIX Market, building on data collected by RAF Learning Lab. Additionally, insights from the tool helped organizations develop smallholder products more quickly and easily.

MIX and One Acre Fund have archived the taxonomy, dataset, and insights in a Reference Collection to ensure the knowledge and artefacts from this program are available for others to learn from and build upon. 

The financing gap in smallholder finance remains significant and philanthropic projects are required to support product development for financial service providers. We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to the financial service providers who have contributed data and participated in research efforts to help build better products for their smallholder clients. 

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Reference Collection


Outlines the process used to develop the data standards for financial products offered by FSPs to smallholder farmers and details the fields, description & glossary for the resulting taxonomy.

Download the full dataset in Excel for analysis offline

Insights briefs

Insights brief #1

The first Insights brief analyzed the initial data imported from RAF Learning Lab and collected from FSPs.

Insights brief #2

The second Insights brief examined the distribution of products offered by FSPs by type.

Insights brief #3

The third Insights brief highlighted the importance of supply-side information in product development.

About the Author(s)

Original Content

The Learning Lab works to identify and share knowledge relevant to our learning agenda and our users, but also to create new knowledge through research and facilitated learning. Original content from the Learning Lab includes news about the Lab, analyses we've conducted, knowledge products we've created, and posts we've written about other relevant initiatives.

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Learning Lab contributor

MIX is the leading global data resource for socially responsible investors and businesses focused on inclusive finance. MIX’s catalytic data initiatives encourage the growth of inclusive markets and support informed thinking on the future of financial services. MIX convenes stakeholders to build common data standards that create transparency and develops strategic insight from complex data to help sectors flourish. Founded in 2002, MIX has served as a trusted data partner for socially responsible investors who move 10 billion USD annually. Learn more at

One Acre Fund
Learning Lab Partner

The OneAcre Fund seeks to expand access to financial services and training for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi, ultimately enabling 181,000 additional poor farm households to improve their farming techniques, and increase their profits on every planted acre.

One Acre fund will also encourage microfinance institutions to expand into rural areas, helping pioneer and augment the capacity of a new sector of microfinance.  And the partnership strengthens OneAcre's core MIS and M&E systems, enabling continued improvement to its program design and greater cost efficiency in its operations, as well as increasing bandwidth to capture the most accurate and compelling evidence of impact. 

Browse One Acre Fund's own insights library.

Press release: One Acre Fund and The MasterCard Foundation Partnership 

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