Who we are 

The Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN) is a network of 48 institutions from different parts of the landscape of agricultural finance, who share a commitment to accelerate access to finance for small and medium enterprises in agricultural value chains. Our partners include financial institutions, philanthropies, social lenders, technical assistance providers, farmers' organizations, and development finance organizations. The network provides a pre-competitive space for these institutions to share learning, address strategic issues and knowledge gaps in a coordinated manner, and foster innovative solutions to address common challenges. 

Why focus on agri-SME finance?

In many emerging economies, small farms and SMEs are the backbone of agri-food systems – from production to processing, services to distribution. As such, these enterprises have key roles to play in the transformation of these systems to achieve the 2030 Agenda. For this to happen, they must have improved access to a range of assets and services. In that context, access to a range of financial services and products is a critical enabler of agri-SME investment. Today, experts estimate that there is a 170 billion dollar gap in access to finance by small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia and Latin America, and a 100 billion dollar gap in access to finance by agri-SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa alone. 


of businesses worldwide are small and medium enterprises.

(World Bank)


of all farms worldwide are under 50 hectares.

(Lowder, Skoet and Raney, 2016)


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

(AGRA, 2019)


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 for these actors to learn about each other, approach strategic knowledge gaps in a coordinated fashion, and identify opportunities to innovate together and to work in synergy to achieve greater impact.

Our history and governance

The network was announced by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Ministry of the Economy and Finance of Italy at a conference on "Investing in Inclusive Rural Transformation" held in Rome in January 2017, and it formally came together in April 2018. SAFIN is governed by a Steering Committee and facilitated by Workstream Leads and by a Secretariat housed at IFAD. 

The Steering Committee oversees network activities, progress and proposals and it advises and support the mobilization of resources for SAFIN. It convenes four times a year. Workstream Leads animate thematic working groups, while the Secretariat plays a convening and facilitating role for the network and works in support to all partners.

Meet the Secretariat Team
Bettina Prato

Senior Coordinator

Michael von During

Technical Specialist

Emily Kitongo

Knowledge Management Analyst

Dély Nussy

 Administrative Assistant 

Our donors

During its pilot phase (2018-2020), SAFIN has been funded by Agence Française du Développement, IFAD, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the New Venture Fund, the Small Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development.

Our Partners

The European Commission has also engaged in SAFIN since its early stages.


Contact us

Hosted at the International Fund for Agricultural Development

Via Paolo di Dono, 44, 00142 Rome, Italy

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