Improving Access to Finance in East & West Africa
Research shows that smallholder farmers provide 70% of the
world's food, but only 2% of their financing needs are being met in
the developing world.
Sometimes this is due to high interest rates, or demands for
security that can't be met. Often, management committees made up of
individual farmers lack the skills to produce the business plans or
financial projections required by lenders.
Shared Interest Foundation developed the Access to Finance
project in 2013 to address these issues. Funded by Comic Relief the
two year project was designed to deliver financial training to
co-operatives, followed by individual mentoring and support.
The project was delivered in; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and
Ivory Coast, in partnership with Fairtrade. Africa. The key target
was to see £1m of loan finance approved to the organisations who
participated as a result of the training, mentoring and support.
Over the two years we were in fact able to see over £2.5m of loan
finance approved as a direct result of this project. 122
organisations participated in the training, representing 31,260
members. Forty eight organisations went on to make applications for
loan finance, and 24 of these were successful.
Kabuboni Coffee Farmers' Co-operative is a Fairtrade coffee
producer situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya. Farmers in
the area usually rely on coffee as their main cash crop. However,
in order to strengthen their business as reduced coffee prices
continued to take their toll, Kabuboni were looking to diversify
into milk production.
After receiving specialist training and mentoring from our
Access to Finance project, Kabuboni members have been able to find
an extra source of income from dairy farming.
"We were in dire need of funds for diversification. The training
has helped us access this finance and subsequently increase the
number of female employees as the majority of dairy farmers tend to
Following the success of this project we have rolled out smaller
scale Access to Finance projects in Malawi, Columbia and