Business Support

It is widely recognised that poor clients need more than finance to break out of conditions of poverty. In the first instance they may need to overcome health problems and malnutrition. Then they may have complicated decisions to make in terms of how to earn money, whether to develop new enterprises, which technologies to adopt, where to sell produce, how to react to problems, how to manage multiple demands on limited cash resources and how to build up assets for security or larger investments. Thus an ideal situation would see rural households receiving a coordinated combination of services to improve their health, nutrition, family planning, education, business activities and so on. Many development organisations that have moved into the provision of microfinance, do also provide other services. However, if they need to cover costs and remain financially viable, it raises questions about whether or not non-banking services can be provided on a sustainable basis. There are a number of successful "credit with education" models, which use the group-based approach to microfinance as an opportunity to provide low-cost education services to clients. There has also been a growing interest in providing business development services as a commercial enterprise in recent years and experience and innovations have been increasing in this field.

Library Resources

resource title type year resource
COVID-19 and smallholder producers’ access to markets Brief 2020

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Marketing support

The COVID-19 pandemic is substantially affecting smallholder producers’ access to markets. Immediate impacts tend to be more severe for high-value commodities (perishable products), which are often produced by smallholder farmers. Several countries are putting in place a variety of measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on smallholder producers. This brief builds on lessons learned in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic and during the 2007–2008 global food prices volatility crisis. It also analyses the initial challenges and responses by the countries that were affected at the early stages of the outbreak. The aim is to inform policy makers on options for mitigating the effects of the lockdown on food and agriculture with attention to smallholders’ access to markets. 

Author Adriano Campolina, Azeta Cungu, Jun He, May Hani, Niclas Benni, Verdiana Biagioni Gazzoli and Yahor Vetlou
Publisher FAO
Number of Pages 9
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords smallholder producers, access to market, Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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Artificial Intelligence in Agribusiness is Growing in Emerging Markets Article 2020

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This resource appears in: Business Support, ICT applications

Business models utilizing artificial intelligence can help meet rising global demand for food and support a more inclusive and sustainable food system by:

(1) enhancing the resilience of farming methods; 
(2)reducing the cost of quality inputs and services to underserved farmers; and 
(3) improving market access to facilitate smallholder farmer integration into regional and global supply chains. 

AI technologies are transforming agtech business models, it also extends products and services to underserved farmers. Farmers need access to credit and insurance to expand their businesses and manage risk, and to enhance the resilience of their operations. Many emerging market farmers lack access to affordable financial products because of the significant time and cost required to price their risk and collateral, as well as the difficulty of serving farmers in rural and remote areas. Technological advancements in satellite weather data collection and the wider adoption of mobile technology has dramatically reduced these costs, facilitating the extension of financial products to farmers in emerging economies

Author Peter Cook, Felicity O’Neill
Publisher IFC
Number of Pages 8
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Agribusiness, Artificial Intelligence
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Promoting Women and Youth Financial Inclusion for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation Brief 2020 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Business planning, Staff development, Gender, Investment, Private-public partnerships

Guinea, a country of roughly 12.4 million people with a bank account penetration rate of 15 percent as of 2017, has made modest gains in reducing financial exclusion levels since 2011, despite being hit by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). A disproportionate number of the unbanked are women, youth and rural dwellers and an eight percent account ownership gap between men and women remains. The Global Findex also indicates that only 13.0 percent of the youth have an account at a formal financial institution, compared with 14.6 percent for the entire population. Emerging research indicates that the failure to close the gender and youth gap in access to finance represents a massive loss of output and potential – especially for the youth: it undermines their lifetime productivity and earnings potential, making it difficult for them to escape poverty.

Under a grant from the International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada, the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) – an economic policy institute headquartered in Accra, Ghana – partnered with Ayani B.V., a consultancy firm in Guinea, to assess the effectiveness of financial sector initiatives in advancing women’s and youth’s financial inclusion.

The study’s emphasis was to diagnose the state of financial inclusion of adult women and youth in Guinea, gauge the impact of different approaches, and draw lessons for policy makers, regulators and service providers to enhance entrepreneurship and job opportunities for women and youth.

Following the African Union definition, this study defined youth as individuals aged between 15 and 35. An analytical framework (based on the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s definitive framework) helped assess financial inclusion among women and youth using four indicators (Access, Usage, Quality, and Welfare improvements). The data collection phase involved a survey and focus group discussions (FGDs) among Guinean women, female and male youth in both rural and urban settings. The study engaged experts from government ministries, regulatory bodies and private sector banks, microfinance and other non-bank financial institutions along with mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile money services. 

Document  -  English (en)

Publisher The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET)
Number of Pages 44
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Guinea
Keywords Women and Youth, Financial Inclusion
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Agri-food markets and trade policy in the time of COVID-19 2020 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Agribusiness and enterprise support, Marketing support

The policy brief highlights that policy measures should aim to address actual rather than perceived demand and supply disruptions, and that enhanced market transparency, and coordination with trading partners is critical in this regard. It is noted that experiences from past crises have demonstrated that avoiding certain trade-restrictive measures can be equally important to more direct forms of supporting consumers and producers. In this context, following international guidelines on safe travel and trade corridors can help keep agri-food supply chains functional, mitigate food supply disruptions, and promote food security.

Document  -  English (en)

Adjusting business models to sustain agri-food enterprises during COVID-19 Brief 2020

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This resource appears in: Business Support

Across the world the COVID-19 crisis is compromising agri-enterprises’ ability to continue business as usual and, in some cases, is threatening the survival of some firms beyond the crisis, particularly small businesses comprised of farm enterprises, traders, food manufacturers, distributors and retailers across food chains. The brief highlights the critical role that these companies play in maintaining functioning food systems during the crisis. Recommendations target a mix of ministries, public institutions, food industry associations, local business service providers and chambers of commerce.

Recommendations are structured around the components that agri-enterprises need to manage on a day-to-day basis, namely: strategic management and partnerships to leverage collective support; management of financial resources, including liquidity/cash, assets and credit on a daily, weekly and monthly basis; human resources, which refer to the staff and people the company depends on to get the job done; and, marketing and sales, which addresses how a company targets and communicates with its customers during the crisis.

Gender Mainstreaming in Agricultural Supply Chains Can Accelerate Good Growth Paper 2020 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Agribusiness and enterprise support, Value chain development, Gender

Women play an important and valuable, but often invisible, role in agriculture. The persistence of their invisibility reflects the reality that gendered roles are often or inconsistently unrecognized, valued and reflected in decision-making. This costs individuals, households and CSCs. This reality is also unjust. Women’s input and contribution to agriculture as well as the burdens they bear from unsustainability are not matched by an equal share of resources or influence on how the sector is run. Beef, soy and palm oil supply chains deserve special attention. They are economically powerful, drive high rates of deforestation (along with wood, they are the major contributors to tropical deforestation) and affect the lives and incomes of millions of smallholder farmers and workers including women. Yet, limited attention is paid to the fact that women and men do not consume commodities equitably and that there can be significant differences between women of different nationalities, race, ethnicity and class in terms of access to commodities or the problems that unsustainable commodities produce.
 

Gender-lens investing is trending as a space and opportunity for making finance a tool for social change though finding instruments that focus on gender and the environment at the same time is still a challenge. Transactions address the role that financing can play along the supply chain (from producers to retailers) in fostering sustainable production. Involving banks and other financial actors, transactions can take the form of accessible finance or financial products such as bonds, impact investment structures, subsidies and co-financing or co-investment approaches as well as investment standards

Document  -  English (en)

COVID-19 and the risk to food supply chains: How to respond? Brief 2020 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Agribusiness and enterprise support, Marketing support, Value chain development

As the COVID-19 pandemic turns into a global crisis, countries are taking measures to contain the pandemic.

This policy brief provides recommendations on measures to consider in order to keep the supply chain alive in these times of crisis, such as giving smallholder farmers support to both enhance their productivity and market the food they produce, also through e-commerce channels

Restrictions on movement are curbing farmers’ access to markets to buy inputs and sell products. Fresh produce is accumulating at farms, resulting in food loss. It is causing labor shortages as migrant seasonal workers are unable to travel. The Ebola outbreak in 2014 disrupted the agricultural market chains in West Africa for the same reason, leading to shortages of food and price increases. Africa is especially vulnerable right now with desert locust infestations already threatening the continent’s food supply. In China, logistics constraints and labor crunches have caused losses of fresh vegetables, limited access to animal feed and diminished capacity of slaughterhouses.

 

Document  -  English (en)

Is Data Privacy Good for Business? Technical Note 2019

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Business Support Services: General, Agribusiness and enterprise support, Business planning, ICT applications

As digital financial services grow rapidly, so do concerns over data privacy and protection especially for poor customers who are particularly vulnerable to abuses and injury from lax data policies. CGAP set out to test how much poor people value their data privacy and whether there was a business case for financial services providers to offer better data protection. The results from six experiments in Kenya and India make the case that customers will choose products with data policy and protection features built in, and they are willing to pay for them. This opens an avenue for voluntary self-regulation in markets that do not have strong consumer protection and data policies in place.

Author Maria Fernandez Vidal and David Medine
Publisher Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)
Number of Pages 12 pages
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Customers, Donors and Investors, Business and markets, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, India
Related Resources
Pathways to prosperity: 2019 rural and agricultural finance state of the sector report Report 2019

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Business Support Services: General, Agribusiness and enterprise support, Business planning, Equity investments in agribusiness

Despite significant progress in the rural agricultural finance sector, financial service providers are still unable to meet the full USD 240 billion demand of rural households for agricultural and non-agricultural finance. The latest data suggests that providers are currently supplying approximately USD 70 billion. This leaves around USD 170 billion —or 70%—of the global demand for smallholder finance unmet. This gap cuts across all geographic regions and financing types, but is particularly concentrated in long-term agricultural finance, for which 98% of global demand remains unmet. As with the direct-to-smallholder finance market, there is a large gap when it comes to lending to agricultural SMEs. There is no comprehensive global sizing of the demand and supply for lending to agricultural SMEs, but recent analyses have painted a stronger picture of how the market functions and illustrate why—despite agricultural SMEs playing a vital role in economic development—financial service providers limit their lending to these clients.

In recent years, new financing products have begun to penetrate rural markets. These include the rise of lending “innovators”—fintechs and mobile network operators that deliver credit directly to rural households through digital channels, holding the associated credit risk on their own balance sheet. While these innovators have great potential to address customer pain points and reach unserved customer segments, they currently represent a small portion of the lending market. At the same time, there’s been an emergence of new models of agricultural insurance, digital payments, and savings accounts. With greater breadth, depth and innovation in rural financial services than ever before there are new opportunities emerging to close the persistent rural finance gap.

Author Matt Shakhovskoy of ISF Advisors, and Clara Colina and Mikael Clason Höök of the Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab
Publisher The Mastercard Foundation, USAID, and Small Foundation
Number of Pages 61 pages
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Rural and Agriculture Finance
Related Resources
Agent Networks at the Last Mile: A Guide for Digital Finance to Reach Rural Customers Document 2019

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This resource appears in: Business Support, Business Support Services: General, Agribusiness and enterprise support, Business planning, Remittances and payments

Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy way to switch between the worlds of cash and digital currency. Agent networks that provide this service tend to cluster around urban and peri-urban areas and larger rural towns. However, global evidence shows that emerging agent network business models are improving agent viability in remote areas home to many of the world's poor, financially excluded populations. 

Based on an analysis of these models, this report describes six principles for effective cash-in/cash-out agent networks at the last mile and highlights examples of where they are being applied throughout the world. Digital financial services providers, policy makers, and regulators will find concrete recommendations for putting these principles into practice to advance financial inclusion.

Author Emilio Hernandez
Publisher CGAP
Number of Pages 32 pages
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Business and markets, Distribution, Payments
Related Resources
Estrategias de retención de Asesores/as de Crédito en organizaciones de finanzas populares Paper 2015

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This resource appears in: Business Support

El estudio identifica las estrategias de retención que implementan las organizaciones de finanzas populares que conforman la Red Financiera Rural con el fin de  garantizar la permanencia de sus asesores de crédito. La investigación fue descriptiva,  utilizó a cuatro organizaciones sin fines de lucro como universo de estudio y a 15 asesores/as de crédito como unidad de análisis. Para la recolección de información se utilizaron cuestionarios aplicados a las direcciones de talento humano al equipo de asesores de crédito cuya principal contraparte es en gran medida la población rural, para en base a ello identificar la existencia de estrategias de retención orientadas a este grupo, los elementos que las integran, así como las expectativas de los asesores/as de crédito en torno a la existencia y definición de estrategias de retención.

Author Vaca Espín, M. A.
Publisher Universidad de Belgrano
Number of Pages 134
Primary Language Spanish (es)
Region / Country Global, South America
Ecuador
Keywords Ecuador, Asesores de Crédito
Related Resources
Case Study: The Return on Investment from Technoserve's Coffee Initiative Case Study 2015

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This resource appears in: Business Support

 

This Initiative for Smallholder Finance briefing is the ninth in a series about catalyzing smallholder finance. In our previous two briefing notes, we offered an overview of the anatomy of the market for agricultural technical assistance in developing countries and discussed the linkages between technical assistance and smallholder financing. Those briefings emphasized the importance of increasing coordination among actors to improve knowledge transfer, share best practices and lessons learned, and improve the quality of technical assistance delivery. 

In that spirit, this briefing offers a case study of a TechnoServe project aiming to increase incomes of smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa. Although the project was complex and produced many lessons to share, this briefing focuses in particular on the value of technical assistance to increase access to finance, crowd-in the private sector, achieve scale, and generate value for an industry. 

Author The Initiative for Smallholder Finance
Publisher The Initiative for Smallholder Finance
Number of Pages 10 p.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords return on investment, Agricultural Finance, Agribusiness Finance, Access To Finance
Related Resources
Technical Assistance for Smallholder Farmers: An Anatomy of the Market Brief 2014

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This resource appears in: Business Support

This Initiative for Smallholder Finance briefing is the seventh in a series about catalyzing smallholder finance, and presents an overview of the different forms of technical assistance for farmers in the developing world. Technical assistance is critical to smallholder financing because it is the nearest adjacent market and has complementary linkages to financing. A forthcoming briefing will discuss these linkages to financing in more detail. 

Author The Initiative for Smallholder Finance
Publisher The Initiative for Smallholder Finance
Number of Pages 9 p.
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Technical Assistance, smallholder finance
Related Resources

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