FAO, IFAD sign agreement to promote smallholder financing

Grant will help generate new policy tools and training materials

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed an $875 000 agreement aimed at helping small farmers and rural households in developing countries gain improved access to agricultural and rural finance, thereby enabling their investments.

The three-year grant agreement is intended to generate new policy tools and training materials for public-sector agencies, donors, financial institutions and NGOs working to enhance smallholder access to financial services including credit, savings and insurance.

The knowledge gained will be disseminated world-wide through the Rural Finance Learning Center (RFLC), a jointly supported web platform managed by FAO which has been operating since 2004.

The grant agreement was inaugurated here last Friday during the annual meeting of the Improving Capacity Building in Rural Finance  (CABFIN) partnership, which groups the German International Cooperation Agency GIZ, the World Bank, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) as well as FAO and IFAD. The grant will support CABFIN's work plan for 2013-15. 

"Many development agencies said finance for agriculture was too risky and difficult. The CABFIN Partners believed otherwise and 10 years ago initiated a plan to jointly address learning on polices, products and models by sharing information on how it can be done, by creating the RFLC information gateway and by jointly developing technical guidance documents and working together on strategic initiatives in the sector. The continued and growing commitment of the partners is testament to the global success and impact from the collaboration," said FAO Senior Agribusiness and Finance Officer Calvin Miller. [...]