Financing farmer based value chains for poverty reduction through and after the COVID-19 crisis
If you missed the joint SAFIN-AGRIFIN webinar on “Agri-SME finance and COVID-19: Issues to consider in the short and long term”, you can review it here.
This webinar was the first of a series of virtual discussions dedicated to understanding the implications of the COVID-19 crisis on agri-SME finance and considering short and long term responses. The session started with a presentation of data and analysis conducted by FAO on the current impacts on agricultural supply chains and their possible consequences. The next panellists addressed how the crisis is affecting farmers organizations, agro-dealers and other agribusinesses along the value chain, as well as African financial institutions operating in the sector, and they laid out some of the emerging responses and areas where opportunities to “build back better” can be identified. During the Q&A session, panellists underlined the need for greater and better informed collaboration across and beyond the agricultural finance ecosystem, the importance of measures to improve women’s access to finance in agriculture, and the critical role of digitalization of market and financial transactions during the current crisis and most likely also in the recovery phase.
Members of the panel:
- Greta Bull, CEO of CGAP and Director at the World Bank Group (Chair)
- Maximo Torero Mullen, Assistant Director General, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- Hannelore Beerlandt, CEO, AGRICORD
- Thomas Essel, Secretary General, African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association
- Jason Scarpone, President and CEO of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership
Main take aways from the webinar by AgriCord CEO Hannelore Beerlandt in a nutshell:
We focus on what is happening at the local level, where the economic transactions of agricultural mostly take place.
The regional and national level policies have influence on this local level ! We need to see their impacts at the local level.
All measures taken should support a structural relaunch after the crisis, so institutions and actors need to be strengthened to carry and integrate changes.
A lot of the remaining problems are linked to uncertainty, unpredictability, in-transparencies of markets (inputs, credit, products/trade, transport).
Different actors need to work together to overcome this lack of information and challenges: FO’s and cooperatives, local traders and SME’s and processors, MFI’s and credit cooperatives and transporters. Digital solutions for information sharing and for economic transactions should be urgently promoted.
In the financial sector, the local level and agriculture should be prioritised. Priorities need to be set, there might not be enough capital for all sectors.
The local SME’s sector, including cooperatives, in agribusiness should get specific attention and should keep going.
The costs for supplier credit should be lowered and existing loans rescheduled.
To boost women’s access to finance, the collateral requirement should be reduced (via guarantee schemes, via digital solutions (e.g. digital certificates from stocks in warehouses, photo’s of produce of women etc. )