Just like farmers, agribusiness entrepreneurs are significantly underserved by the financial sector. Businesses that support the agricultural sector, like seed and fertilizer vendors, those who develop irrigation systems and equipment, and offtakers who purchase farmers' crops, often struggle to have enough capital on hand to maintain their businesses and support farmers. This can lead to crops spoiling post-harvest while farmers search for good buyers, or farmers selling their crops for a low price, resulting in poor revenues.
In a 2016 survey of Opportunity International's farming clients, 44% said that a lack of liquidity and acumen at the agribusiness level was among the biggest challenges for growing their farms. As a result, Opportunity International launched a dedicated portfolio to support the businesses that support farmers the most.
Opportunity International works to build the capacity of agribusinesses and last-mile service providers in rural communities. We equip agribusinesses so that farmers have access to the critical services they need to grow their farms and their revenues.
Financial Services for Agribusinesses
Opportunity International provides access to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) loans to rural agribusiness entrepreneurs, which typically range from $6,000 to $50,000. These larger loans help agribusinesses that require larger amounts of capital purchase supplies or crops in bulk. In addition, they help create jobs in rural communities by generating the activity that drives the need for gathering crops, transportation, warehousing, and processing.
Training for Agribusinesses
In addition to financial services and support, Opportunity trains rural entrepreneurs in financial literacy and business management, including digitizing important paperwork, budgeting, and business forecasting. These valuable business skills help agribusinesses strengthen their operations and sustainability, equipping them to better serve farmers.
Strengthening Agricultural Systems
Opportunity International is growing its data collection to better understand farmers' preferences and behavior. Farmer profiles, which are collected digitally by Farmer Support Agents, provide information on the types of crops grown in rural regions, the inputs and suppliers used by farmers, average yields, potential yields, offtakers or processors used, household demographics, market accessibility, mobile phone ownership, and financial history. This information will help financial institutions and agribusinesses identify areas for growth and strengthen agricultural systems.