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Sowing the Seeds of Innovation for Smallholder Finance

As the global population grows, farmers must supply a greater variety of food products to an expanding middle class, while confronting the challenges of climate change and working to secure their own livelihoods. Evidence shows that smallholder farmers and small- and medium-sized agribusinesses (agriSMEs) in the developing world—who provide the majority of the world’s food supply—do not have access to adequate financial services that could help them expand their enterprises and support their families. In addition to agricultural credit, farmers need access to savings, insurance, remittances, and payments, in order to manage everyday expenses, pay bills, send their children to school, and save for the future. This report, produced by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) in their capacity as advisors to the office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), proposes general insights on how to promote successful cross-industry partnerships and highlight specific steps that private and public-sector actors can follow to continue expanding access to rural and agricultural finance in a way that is viable for providers and customers.