End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”Sustainable Development Goal 2
Farmers in developing countries have some of the riskiest and toughest jobs in the world. One drought, one flood, or one bag of bad seed can decimate an entire season's harvest. When your livelihood depends on just one or two harvests a year, one setback can force your children to go hungry for months and drop out of school until you can afford to send them back.
Smallholder farming is complex and unpredictable, but it is the lifeline for two-thirds of families living in poverty.
- 27% of the world is employed in agriculture
- 25% of people worldwide experience moderate or severe food insecurity
- 10% of people worldwide are undernourished
Opportunity International launched its Agriculture Finance (AgFinance) program in 2008 to help end the cycle of low-productivity farming in rural African communities. Opportunity delivers targeted, finance-based solutions, like access to seeds and fertilizer, connections to buyers, and training on agricultural best practices. These programs are designed to help rural families transform their small farms into more productive, lucrative, and effective enterprises.
To date, Opportunity International has helped more than 540,000 farmers in sub-Saharan Africa build resilient livelihoods for themselves through small-scale farming.
About Agriculture Finance
Lending for Agriculture
Opportunity International works alongside financial institutions, providing technical assistance to help them launch and grow agricultural loan portfolios. Opportunity International has been at the forefront of agricultural finance innovation, designing a wide range of financial products for rural communities, including production loans and rural savings accounts, small and medium-sized enterprise loans for agribusiness, loan guarantees, mechanization loans, crop insurance, and revolving credit facilities. These financial services help farmers access the resources they need to grow and improve their farms.
Digital Services for Rural Communities
Opportunity International leverages technology to reach farmers and rural communities. Through innovative tools like mobile banking, agent banker networks, and digital loan applications, we are able to increase access to finance for rural and excluded communities.
Training for Farmers
Opportunity International built a network of local Farmer Support Agents, trusted farmers who live and work in the communities we serve who are equipped with smartphones to deliver trainings to other farmers. We connect these FSAs to their peers; design technological tools to improve farming practices; and provide financial and digital literacy training, ensuring that farmers understand business management, loan terms, and how to apply for and utilize loans to grow their farms.
Access to Markets
Opportunity International also serves rural families by training and supporting rural agribusinesses—business like warehouses, processing plants, and seed and fertilizer suppliers—which helps farmers access the tools they need to be successful and creates jobs in rural communities. Opportunity International trains agribusiness entrepreneurs in bookkeeping, cash flow management, and business planning—all which are essential skills for long-term business growth and sustainability.
Mujawimana Marie Josee lives in Muhanga, Rwanda, where she grows rice and maize on a small family farm. For years, she cultivated her land but didn’t get good crop yields—one rice harvest failed, and the next year, she harvested 78kg of rice—just 20% of land’s potential.
Then she began working with Opportunity’s AgFinance program and received loans to purchase manure to use as fertilizer. Her first season with AgFinance support, she harvested 283kg. The next season, she harvested 340kg. And during the most recent harvest, she yielded 360kg of rice—a 361% increase from her first harvest.
Best of all, she is earning enough to begin building her own home. After each harvest, she completes another portion of the house. Soon, she’ll have her own safe space for her family.
- Evaluating the potential of the seed sector in Niger, in partnership with USAID
- AgFinance positively impacts smallholder farmers in Ghana, in partnership with The Mastercard Foundation
- Agricultural Finance Impact Assessment: Increasing the productivity and income among farming households in Uganda, Rwanda, and Ghana, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Mastercard Foundation
- Tangible benefits reported by AgFinance clients
- Gender analysis of AgFinance in Ghana and Mozambique