Amosi Kasamira’s face lights up as he shares his plans for the next season. ‘My vision is to replace the grass roof of our home to better protect us from the sun and rain,’ he explains, ‘and I intend to cultivate ten acres next season.’ –Excerpted from: ‘There is Still a Lot of Work Ahead,’ World Finance, July-August 2010 (pp. 152-154)
Amosi Kasamira and his wife heard about the agricultural finance program at Opportunity International Bank of http://www.opportunity.org/our-work/where-we-work/microfinance-in-africa/microfinance-in-malawi/Malawi[/intlink] (OIBM) two years ago. Since then, they have repaid their first loan and are now growing more maize than ever before. They’ve also been able to increase the size of their land plot and access fertilizer and seed.
Deborah Foy of Opportunity International UK details Amosi’s family’s story in the July-August 2010 issue of World Finance magazine. She outlines howhttp://www.opportunity.org/Opportunity[/intlink]’s agricultural finance program in sub-Saharan Africa is empowering smallholder farmers like Amosi with http://www.opportunity.org/what-is-microfinance/microfinance[/intlink] solutions like savings, insurance and loans.
As Foy explains in the article, Opportunity has developed a strategy to manage the risks inherent in providing financial products in rural areas, with undeveloped markets and farming techniques, poor infrastructure, and clients who have little credit history.
Opportunity ensures a profitable and well-managed agriculture microfinance program through:
- Traditional character-based lending techniques to select responsible borrowers
- http://www.opportunity.org/our-work/microinsurance/Insurance[/intlink] like weather-index crop insurance, where available, to protect against drought or flood, and credit life insurance that’s included in all loans
- http://www.opportunity.org/our-work/savings/Savings[/intlink] to help manage cash flow
- http://www.opportunity.org/our-work/training/Training[/intlink] on the principles of saving, borrowing, cash flow and good business practices
- High-quality technical assistance for clients with agriculture extension services to improve land management and yields
- Diversified portfolio risk across a variety of sectors, crops and geographic areas
- A robust, sophisticated management information system to ensure constant, real-time information on the status of agriculture loans within the portfolio
Opportunity recently wrote a guest blog post for the Hunger and Undernutrition Blog about Foy’sWorld Finance piece. Check out our blog post as well as the Hunger and Undernutrition Blog‘s wide-ranging coverage of a number of topics related to hunger, nutrition, poverty and agriculture by expert guest bloggers.