Access to Finance

Access To Finance 1

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 co-operatives.

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.