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Food & Microfinance: Helping Farmers Reap Rewards

By Opportunity International

Opportunity International is prominently featured in an article entitled “Food & Microfinance: Helping Farmers Reap Rewards” in today’s Financial Times. The article highlights Opportunity’s leadership in providing both agricultural finance and microinsurance to smallholder farmers to help them increase production, support their families and feed their communities. It also references “Feed the Future,” USAID’s new global hunger and food security initiative.

John Magnay, agricultural advisor for Opportunity International, is quoted as saying, “Microfinance is the lubricating system for smallholder farmers. Unless they can get access to inputs and finance the production and marketing cycle, they will not be able to produce at optimum levels.”

The article continues: “MicroEnsure, the insurance agency of Opportunity International and one of the shortlisted organisations for the Banking at the Base of the Pyramid award, is working with the United Nations through the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative to create a $5bn climate change insurance plan. This will cover people in developing countries who are facing increased incidences of climate-related flooding, drought and other extreme weather events. These experiments in micro-insurance for smallholders come at a critical time, as the risks that farmers face are likely to rise sharply with the effects of climate change.”

Sowing the seeds of success: a Tanzanian farmer working in her cornfield.

Sowing the seeds of success: a Tanzanian farmer working in her cornfield. Photo by Financial Times.

The article also highlights our program in Malawi as an example of microfinance institutions and non-governmental organizations that are starting to address the financial needs of smallholder farmers. “In Malawi, Opportunity International combines microloans with savings accounts and weather insurance products. ‘We’re also encouraging farmers to plant trees,’ says Mr. Magnay. ‘So, in seven or eight years, they will have household fuel wood and timber to sell.’”

Click here to read the full story.

To learn more about Opportunity’s agricultural finance initiative, attend the Opportunity International Microfinance Conference on Oct. 8-9 at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Va. The conference will feature speakers such as John Magnay and Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow on Global Agriculture and Food Policy for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, as well as breakout sessions on key issues such as global poverty, hunger and microfinance. To register, click here.

Watch our video or read the latest Impact newsletter to find out how you can get involved with Opportunity’s Banking on Africa campaign to provide financial access to more people living in poverty.

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