Welcome to One Acre Fund Insights, a living library of white papers and reference resources on important topics in agriculture innovation, social enterprise, farm finance, agriculture policy, and impact measurement. This is a work in progress: content will be added on a rolling basis.

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Farm Finance

Inflection Point: Unlocking growth in the era of farmer finance

This study, published in 2016 by the Initiative for Smallholder Finance in conjunction with the Rural and Agriculture Finance Learning Lab, suggests that while current activities to expand financial inclusion are not sufficient to meet smallholder demand, concerted efforts around customer centricity, progressive partnerships, and smart subsidy have the potential to change the sector’s growth trajectory to better serve the world’s smallholder farmers. One Acre Fund was a member of the steering committee for the study, and contributed research and analysis.

Scaling Up Agriculture Credit in Africa

Originally published as part of the Brookings Institute's Ending Rural Hunger report, this brief provides an overview of how to increase financing for farmers and help them carve their own paths out of poverty, with a focus on those farmers with the smallest plots of land and limited amounts of existing capital. The briefing provides a snapshot of the current lending landscape and the inadequate level of available finance, discusses current successful models and the organizations leading them, and highlights the common principles these models use. The briefing also covers the challenges to scaling these models, and offers concrete recommendations for how to overcome some of these challenges. Authored by David Hong and Stephanie Hanson.

The Case for Farm Finance

The Case for Farm Finance, authored by One Acre Fund’s Stephanie Hanson and published in November 2015 in the MIT Innovations Journal's issue on financial inclusion, emphasizes the importance of addressing the unmet global demand for smallholder finance. The piece posits that there are two main narratives that explain the financing gap for smallholders, and explores several innovative models that have successfully overcome one or both narratives. 

Bridging the microfinance gap for smallholder farmers

Microfinance is widely known for the incredible speed in which it can be scaled and the positive effect it has had in reducing poverty. However, as a result of most microfinance institutions targeting the urban and suburban poor, the largest group of poor people in the world - smallholder farmers - are largely financially excluded. In this 2014 article originally published in This is Africa, Stephanie Hanson of One Acre Fund, argues for the growing need to bridge the microfinance gap for smallholder farmers.

How Direct to Farmer Finance Providers Reach Smallholders

The vast majority of smallholder farmers are financially underserved. Providing these smallholders with access to appropriately structured financial products and services can help bridge the smallholder finance gap and, in turn, combat extreme poverty. Published in 2014, this briefing by the Initiative for Smallholder Finance examines one possible solution: finance providers that offer financial products and services directly to smallholders.

Asset Financing at One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund has created a loan product that fits the needs of smallholder farmers. We provide tangible goods to our clients, rather than cash. This white paper outlines the key features of our asset-finance model, and offers recommendations to microfinance institutions (MFIs) interested in introducing asset finance.

Flexible Repayment at One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund farmers enjoy flexible repayment, meaning they can repay their loans at their own pace. This white paper explains how flexible repayment is a model that addresses the unique financial needs of smallholder farmers.

What to Read on Agriculture Microfinance

Stephanie Hanson and Mike Warmington characterize the market opportunity for farm microfinance through a discussion of relevant books, videos, and papers. This article was originally published in 2014 by the Financial Access Initiative at New York University.

Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance

Sponsored by Citi Foundation and Skoll Foundation, this 2012 report by Dalberg Global Development Associates reviews strategies for enhancing smallholder farmer finance.

Using a Bundled Approach to Increase Productivity in the AU’s Year of Agriculture

Stephanie Hanson and Laurence Dare highlight how, in serving smallholder farmers, increased access to farm microfinance must be complemented by a full value chain approach. Originally published by Brookings Africa in Focus blog, as part of the Foresight Africa 2014 series.

Small and Growing: Entrepreneurship in African Agriculture

Produced by Agriculture for Impact and the Montpellier Panel, this 2014 report promotes investment in rural and food sector entrepreneurship in Africa.