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.
Following a five-year period of growth where lending by the 12 CSAF members more than doubled from $345M in 2013 to $716M in 2017, topline loan disbursements declined in 2018 for the first time since CSAF began collecting data in 2013. Lenders’ experiences in 2018 underscore the myriad and often compounding risk factors in serving agricultural SMEs.
As each CSAF member navigates difficult strategic decisions at an institutional level, our dialogue at an industry level has focused on the question: What can we do as CSAF to grow the finance market for agricultural SMEs while promoting responsible practices aligned with social and environmental impact?
With CSAF’s relocation to our new institutional host, the Global Development Incubator (GDI), and progress on the Aceli Africa initiative that is slated to launch in early 2020, CSAF is entering a new phase in which we play a more prominent role in advancing industry knowledge and practice to address market challenges.
During the second half of 2019, we will be seeking input from stakeholders on how CSAF can build upon our efforts to date and accelerate our dual objectives of growing the finance market for agricultural SMEs while aligning that growth with responsible lending practices and long-term social and environmental impact. We welcome your feedback on this 2019 State of the Sector report.