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Facilitating Access to Credit for Smallholders

Our system can reduce information asymmetry and provide confidence to financial service providers to open up credit to smallholder farmers

Challenge

In agriculture, where large upfront costs are required for a one-off payoff at harvest, credit is key to improving operations. In order to be able to improve yields, credit is needed for better seed, fertilisers, and equipment. However, despite making up <80% of the farming population, only a sixth of smallholders currently have access to credit. It is estimated that there is a USD 200 million financing gap for 270 million smallholder farmers in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

At the heart of this is a familiar issue – information asymmetry. Financial institutions are not able to access enough information on the potential smallholder customers, many of whom are not using any formal banking systems. Without a data history, institutions are unable to assess the creditworthiness of smallholders, and so will not lend to them.

An additional issue when looking at credit in the smallholder sector is looking to assess what the impact of extra credit will have on the actions of the smallholder. Banks are rightly wary of enabling environmental destruction from farm expansion, and want methods to predict what the impact of their credit might be.

Solution

We believe that Sensonomic’s unique combination of remote sensing and computational simulation can help tackle these issues. With vast quantities of information available through satellite imagery, it is now possible to trace past yeild and farm expansion, and compare between neighboring smallholdings. Sensonomic can draw in this data, analyse it, and make insights into investment potential much easier to access. Additionally, our unique computer simulations will allow investors to test the potential impact of their investments, and the likely payback rate.

Results

We have conducted a scoping study with the backing of the European Space Agency to assess the technical requirements for this project, and to reach out to potential clients. The study was highly promising, and we received much positive feedback from large European credit providers, and input providers.

We are confident that this project can be fully executed, and to take it further we are looking for a commercial partner to develop a proof of concept with. Please get in touch if you would like to hear more.

A Nicaraguan man squats in a field full of bean plants, looking at the camera

Question

Can we provide more information and insight to investors, to give them confidence to extend credit to smallholders?