Initiative for Smallholder Finance

The Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) is a multidonor and investor platform for the development of financial services for the smallholder farmer market. It was launched in May 2013 with the intention of making marked progress toward closing the gap between the $450 billion in smallholder financing demand and the current $10-20 billion supply. The ISF’s primary role is to act as a "design catalyst." The emphasis is on mobilizing additional financing for smallholders and seeding replication of innovative models in new markets.

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Analysis: In a series of blogs, ISF Advisors and the RAF Learning Lab will introduce major concepts and frameworks that will anchor our upcoming State of the Sector report for rural finance. Building on the “industry model” developed in our 2016 Inflection Point report, these frameworks aim to bring further clarity and insight to the three layers of the market: Rural clients, financial service providers, and the capital markets. We hope that by sharing early versions of this thinking we can stimulate debate and discussion across the sector about what is needed to continue to enhance access to rural, agricultural financial services.
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Analysis: Part 9 of ISF’s and RAF Learning Lab’s Pulse series shares highlights from a review of the major donor agendas currently shaping the development of global smallholder finance via grant-based subsidy.
Analysis: The eighth blog in the Pulse series explores the rising number of new databases emerging in smallholder finance and the opportunities for funders/donors, financial service providers, and researchers to engage.
TA Pulse
Analysis: Part 4 of ISF's and RAF Learning Lab's Pulse series draws insights from the evolving Technical Assistance (TA) landscape in agricultural finance.
Community: A new blog series, jointly authored by the Initiative for Smallholder Finance and the Learning Lab will share monthly sector trends in smallholder finance and next steps forward for FSPs, donors, and investors. The Pulse is rooted in key findings and recommendations highlighted in the ISF's and Lab's latest state of the sector report, Inflection Point. 
Analysis: The fourteenth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, the Dalberg Design Impact Group (DIG) explores the causes of low uptake in digital credit for smallholders to better understand how we can develop concrete product solutions to jump-start adoption of digital credit products by them. 
Tool: Speaker presentations posted from the Learning Lab's October 2016 partner gathering where financial service providers and other practitioners shared experiences and research on digitally-enabled finance and customer centricity.
Analysis: The thirteenth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, explores the latest practices from the climate finance community and the agricultural finance community to understand how new combined models can boost returns and attract new investors.
Analysis: The Learning Lab recently supported research by the MIX on detailed 2015 lending data from leading social lenders, who make up the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF). The findings were summarized in the 2015 CSAF annual report, which takes a deeper look into the current state of the sector through the lens of donors, investors, and lenders. Dan Zook, Director of Investments at the Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF), unpacks some of the key highlights from the report, many of which corroborate and illustrate major insights from our study, Inflection Point.
Report: In partnership with the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, we at the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab are excited to announce the release of our newest landmark study, Inflection Point: Unlocking growth in the era of farmer finance.
Analysis: The twelfth briefing note from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance suggests that, if used correctly, philanthropic investment can play an influential role in mitigating FX risk.
ISF briefing 11 cover
Analysis: The eleventh briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance explores how innovative lenders are using new data sources and analytics to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers. The full report is available for download here.

Initiative for Smallholder Finance

The Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) is a multidonor and investor platform for the development of financial services for the smallholder farmer market. It was launched in May 2013 with the intention of making marked progress toward closing the gap between the $450 billion in smallholder financing demand and the current $10-20 billion supply. The ISF’s primary role is to act as a "design catalyst." The emphasis is on mobilizing additional financing for smallholders and seeding replication of innovative models in new markets.