Initiative for Smallholder Finance
Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) is an advisory group committed to transforming rural economies by delivering partnerships and investment structures that promote financial inclusion for rural enterprises and smallholder farmers. Combining industry-leading research with hands-on technical expertise, ISF develops practical, profitable, and sustainable financial solutions. ISF’s research and advisory activities are partially funded by the Feed the Future initiative, and ISF implements agriculture finance projects funded by USAID.
ISF has three key impact pathways guiding its work to deliver partnerships and investment structures that promote financial inclusion for rural enterprises and smallholder farmers:
- A learning pathway to build knowledge and define opportunities that lead to action from others;
- A new infrastructure pathway to facilitate and broker new partnerships and initiatives;
- An intermediation and facilitation pathway to support early-stage investment ideas as a design catalyst.
ISF projects typically include:
- Raising capital or promoting access to finance for rural farmers and inclusive agri-enterprises
- Designing and launching blended investment structures to mobilize capital for rural development
- Advising on investor or donor strategy
ISF conducts its projects globally, historically working on projects in Africa, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia. Head to the Research tab to dive deeper into the group’s work and thought leadership.
Learn more about the team by visiting ISF’s website.
ISF frequently publishes new research on rural livelihoods and sustainable financial solutions through blogs and formal reports. Below is a snapshot of the group’s leading publications:
State of the Sector Reports
- Pathways to Prosperity (2019)
- Protecting Growing Prosperity: Agricultural insurance in the developing world (2018)
- Inflection Point (2016)
COVID-19 Emergency Briefing Series
- High-risk households dependent on, and critical for, food security
- Vulnerable households at the edge of the pandemic
- The imminent crisis for rural livelihoods, agricultural trade, and food security
Pulse Blog Series with the RAF Learning Lab
- Understanding the transition pathways and service needs of rural youth
- Understanding women’s rural transitions and service needs
- Building Multiple Markets: The case for smart digital investments
- A Global Smallholder Weather Update: Shocks guaranteed, losses optional
- Fund Management and Inclusive Agribusiness: A global perspective
- Getting Smarter on Subsidy: The role of grant funding in smallholder finance
- The Fund Manager Perspective: Moving the needle on inclusive agribusiness
- The Role of Government in Developing Agricultural Finance: A look at the history of Germany, the US, and South Korea
- The Climate Conundrum: Financing smallholder productivity and resilience in the age of climate change
- Unlocking Local Currency Lending: Foreign exchange risk in agricultural finance