We are delighted to announce a new study of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on “Innovative Risk Management Strategies in Rural and Agriculture Finance”. This study reviews recent trends in rural finance and investment in the agricultural sector within the Asian region. It aims to offer a critical perspective on some of the main constraints to achieving more inclusive rural financial systems and to propose areas of public and private intervention that could advance this objective, based on evidence compiled from important innovations led by local rural actors in various countries within the region. The study also makes a joint analysis of recent trends in both agricultural markets and rural financial markets, in order to highlight important links between them that can assist in the design of multisectoral public policies that are more effective in promoting inclusive and stable rural financial systems. Given the historical separation between professional networks devoted to analysing financial markets, and, those analysing agricultural markets, important linkages between the current policy literatures related to the two networks have not been explored well.
Second highlight is a study commissioned by NpM, Platform for Inclusive, on “Geodata and ICT Solutions for Inclusive Finance and Food Security”. The report shows that small-scale farmers are increasingly using ICT applications to improve agricultural production, to access information on markets and prices and for banking purposes. ICT also offers opportunities for the financial sector to increase cost-effectiveness and outreach of financial services to rural areas. Recent technological developments can assist in increasing agricultural production, adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change and further expand financial inclusion. The most important areas of ICT development for smallholders are: improving agricultural production; facilitating market access, and improving access to financial services.The publication is based on an analysis of 250 projects. The authors identified several areas that are relevant for speeding up developments that benefit smallholder farmers and the financial institutions that serve them: a good policy and regulatory environment; appropriate information packages for farmers; guidance and support to (rural) financial institutions; high risk and long term capital investments. From this paper, it becomes clear that innovative partnerships are required. The authors argue that in order to catalyse the development of technologies that focus on improving agriculture and finance, even more collaboration, knowledge sharing and testing is needed.
Finally, the3rd edition of the Boulder Rural and Agricultural Finance Programme (RAFP) will be held from July 17th to August 4th, 2017 in Turin, Italy. The Rural and Agricultural Finance Program is a highly specialized program offered for experienced rural and agricultural finance practitioners and institutions. The objective of RAFP is to enable inclusive and efficient food and agricultural systems, as well as promote financial inclusion by strengthening the technical capacity of service providers and those institutions serving rural SMEs and smallholder farmers. For more information and registration, click here.
The Rural Finance and Investment Learning Centre is a part of the CABFIN Partnership Project which aims to promote and facilitate capacity building in rural finance. The concerns of rural finance are to ensure that people living in rural areas have access to financial services such as deposit and money transfer facilities, insurance and loan products. Effective use of these services can help to improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty. The following CABFIN Partners have provided financial support to the RFILC: