Managing risks and designing products for agricultural microfinance

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The purpose of the paper is to provide practitioners, policy makers and donors with a thorough overview of agricultural microfinance. It is hoped that they can use this information to expand the access of farming-dependent households to sustainable financial services on a massive scale.

The analysis in this paper was conducted without bias towards any specific institutional type or approach because there is enormous potential for cross-learning among traditional agricultural finance, agribusiness credit and microfinance. Although the paper focuses on lending, it also recognizes and explores the importance of deposit, insurance and money transfer services for both farming households and financial institutions. This paper was produced as a desk review, supplemented by correspondence with the institutions in the case studies, visits to selected institutions and discussions with knowledgeable third parties.14 The data on rural finance programmes reported here, particularly repayment rates and financial sustainability levels, come from a variety of sources, including reports by agricultural lenders.

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