CSAF Publications

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Evidence review for agricultural SME finance

This evidence review maps the existing body of practitioner and academic evidence on lending to agricultural small and medium-sized enterprises in developing economies, and identifies research and learning priorities to fill key gaps. This work is part of a partnership between CSAF and the International Growth Centre (IGC), who are working together to expand the knowledge base of what does and does not work for mobilizing additional capital into the agricultural finance sector, and how to steer that capital for greatest impact. Download the Executive Summary below, and explore the Literature Review and CSAF Data Analysis.

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2022 State of the Sector

The 2022 State of the Sector report draws upon data from the portfolios of 17 financial institutions to share market insights and reflections on 10 years of practitioner collaboration. In 2021, CSAF members issued loans totaling $756 million to 641 businesses sourcing from 2.5 million farmers. Lending increased substantially—by 35%—after a drop in 2020, as lenders adjusted to navigating COVID and supply chain disruptions and focused on increasing support for growing and maturing businesses. Dive deeper by downloading the Executive Summary and full report below, and watch the webinar recording to hear practitioner perspectives on lessons learned over the past 10 years.

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2021 State of the Sector

The 2021 State of the Sector report highlights the resilience and solidarity of the agricultural finance sector throughout COVID-19. In 2020, CSAF members issued loans totaling $559 million to 649 businesses sourcing from 2.6 million farmers. Though disbursements declined 12% relative to 2019, client retention reached its highest level since 2017, there was a net increase in borrowers reached in Africa, and credit quality actually improved. Dive deeper by downloading the Executive Summary and full report below, and watch the webinar recording for additional insights.

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2020 State of the Sector

In this year’s report, we reflect on the present and future impacts of COVID-19 across agricultural markets and affirm our commitment to supporting our clients through the challenges ahead. We present 2019 data from our growing alliance of 15 CSAF lenders, and share updates on the launch of a new market incentive facility incubated by CSAF: Aceli Africa. Read the Executive Summary and download the full report below.

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2019 State of the Sector

In this fifth annual CSAF State of the Sector report, we examine how lenders have responded to increased risk in their portfolios after a period of growth and diversification, and share our outlook on what is required to expand the finance market for agricultural SMEs and align market growth with social and environmental impact. Download the full report below, read the Executive Summary and watch the webinar recording.

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2018 State of the Sector

This annual report explores trends, opportunities, and challenges for unlocking agricultural financing at the scale required to meet global demand. This report was released concurrently with the findings of a financial benchmarking analysis of the loan-level economics for serving various segments of the agricultural SME market. This analysis incorporates data from nine CSAF members and was conducted by Dalberg Advisors with support from USAID. Learn more.

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2017 State of the Sector

In this third annual “State of the Sector” report, we highlights recent growth trends and note the risks associated with agricultural finance. We also provide data-driven insights and recommendations on how investors, donors, and others can address the evolving, and still largely unmet, needs of smallholder farmers and the businesses that connect them to markets.

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2016 State of the Sector

This report highlights both collective progress as well as specific challenges and risk factors that contributed to the slower market growth and decline in credit quality in 2015. We hope the insights shared in this publication complement the Inflection Point report from ISF Advisors and the RAF Learning Lab by identifying specific areas where smart subsidy and progressive partnerships can be targeted to grow the supply of capital, build the capacity of agricultural SMEs, and improve the overall enabling environment.

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2015 State of the Sector

As members of CSAF, we collaborate on a pre-competitive basis to share learning and promote the development of a vibrant capital market serving small- and medium-sized agricultural enterprises trapped in the “missing middle” — too large for microfinance but considered too small and too risky by commercial banks — for the ultimate benefit of agricultural businesses and the farmers they reach. This annual report shares our progress, explores opportunities for expanding the market to reach more of the missing middle, and notes the challenges and risks to doing so.

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