Access to Finance
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. We work with fair trade
co-operatives to deliver training so that famers can learn the
skills to effectively manage the finances within their
The training is then backed up by mentoring within the
co-operatives themselves. This is to ensure that the training is
embedded into the organisation at all levels, and not just held by
one person. If appropriate, we also make the co-operatives aware of
social lenders, and support them through the process of making an
application for fair finance.
Since 2013, through our Access to Finance projects, over £2.5m
of fair finance has been approved, which has allowed fair trade
co-operatives to buy new equipment, increase their trading
opportunities and diversify into new products.