Commitments to action
Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN)
AFEX Commodities Exchange, Agence Française de Développement, Asian Farmers Association, Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, East African Farmers Federation, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Organization, International Trade Centre, Palladium and Rabobank India.
SAFIN is the only global multi-stakeholder network in the domain of finance for investment by small and medium-sized enterprises in agricultural supply chains – or agri-SMEs. It provides a space for different actors in this domain to learn from each other, address strategic knowledge gaps, and identify opportunities to work together on transformative initiatives in agri-SME finance. SAFIN partners include around fifty financial institutions, impact investors, farmers’ organizations, technical assistance providers, industry platforms, donors and philanthropies, and specialized UN entities. The full list of partner organizations can be found on www.safinetwork.org. Those listed under ‘prime organizations’ below are a sample of the membership, with representatives in the Steering Committee.
SAFIN partners share a vision of inclusive and effective agri-SME finance ecosystems, consisting of more inclusive, effective, and better-connected financial and non-financial institutions and initiatives across the demand and supply sides of finance. Better functioning financial ecosystems in the sector are key to nurture entrepreneurship and create quality jobs, helping to eradicate poverty and foster inclusive prosperity. SMEs play key roles in food system transformation by ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all, supporting the shift to sustainable consumption, boosting nature positive production, advancing equitable livelihoods, and building resilience to vulnerability, shocks, and stress.
Access to finance is a critical obstacle to the success of agri-SMEs in emerging markets – indeed, it often tops the list of obstacles to investment for these enterprises. Estimates of the funding gap for agri-SMEs globally run in the hundreds of billions of dollars, based on the unmet need for finance that agri-SMEs seek to grow their businesses in response to existing market signals. If we take into account the need of agri-SMEs to integrate environmental sustainability, resilience, or climate change adaptation in their business models, the funding gap is even larger.
For the period from 2021-2025, our activities will focus on five areas: bringing the ecosystem together to build trust and mutual understanding; mapping out opportunities for innovative collaborations; fostering a shared understanding of strategic issues for the future of agri-SME finance; bringing an agri-SME lens to country-led initiatives for investment towards sustainable food systems, and; aligning around financial solutions to emerging sector challenges. By the end of 2025, we expect to achieve: an advanced shared understanding of strategic action areas in agri-SME finance; increased connectivity and new relationships formed across the network, and; more collaborative projects to bridge the agri-SME finance gap.
Means of Implementation
Bettina Prato, AFEX Commodities Exchange, Agence Française de Développement, Asian Farmers Association, Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, East African Farmers Federation, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Organization, International Trade Centre, Palladium and Rabobank India.