Who we are 

The Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN) is a global network of actors with a shared commitment to building a better functioning financial ecosystem for small and medium enterprises in food and agriculture. It includes financial service providers, impact investors, farmers’ organizations, technical assistance providers, specialized agencies, industry platforms, public and private donors, and multi-lateral financial institutions. Launched in 2018 by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Italian Ministry of Finance, the network provides a pre-competitive space for partners to share learning, address strategic knowledge gaps, and identify opportunities to work on transformative interventions. SAFIN entered its second phase (SAFIN2.0) in January 2021.

Why focus on agri-SME finance?

According to a taxonomy framework prepared for SAFIN by ISF Advisors, agri-SMEs are profit-oriented enterprises involved in agricultural value chains either directly or as service providers, with a capacity to service investments roughly in the 50,000-2M dollar range. In many emerging economies, SMEs are the backbone of agri-food systems – from production to processing, from services to distribution. They play critical roles in providing inputs, advisory services, and technology solutions to smallholder farmers, and in connecting them to markets. Yet, agri-SMEs often find their capacity to invest constrained by a range of factors. Among these, access to capital and financial services is typically a top challenge. It is often particularly so for young entrepreneurs, women, and agri-SMEs with innovative business models. Today, experts estimate that there is a 170 billion dollar finance gap for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia and Latin America, and at least a 100 billion dollar gap in access to finance by agri-SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa alone. 

90%

of businesses worldwide are small and medium enterprises.

(World Bank)

98%

of all farms worldwide are under 50 hectares.

(Lowder, Skoet and Raney, 2016)

32%

of value generated in agricultural value chains in sub-Saharan Africa comes from SMEs.

(AGRA, 2019)

 USD 

100 B

Annual agricultural SME lending gap in sub-Saharan Africa.

 (Dalberg & KfW, 2018)

USD 170 B

Unmet demand for smallholder finance in developing countries. 

(RAF Learning Lab & ISF Advisors, 2019)

Our vision and mission

SAFIN partners share a vision of a more effective and inclusive institutional and market ecosystem for the delivery of agri-SME finance. 

Our mission is to contribute to this vision through dialogue, knowledge sharing and collaboration across different actors working in this domain. SAFIN provides a curated space to leverage partners’ different capabilities to build better functioning and more inclusive financial ecosystems around agri-SMEs. This includes enterprises led by women or young entrepreneurs and those with business models that deliver new solutions to challenges in food and agriculture.

Our Partners