Early Insights from Financial Diaries of Smallholder Households

Topic :

The Smallholder Diaries are designed to enhance the understanding of the financial lives of smallholder families by capturing the cash flows of 270 households in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Pakistan over one year of their lives. At the end of the research, the extensive data will generate a balance sheet for each family that details all their sources and uses of income, highlighting the interplay among cash flows, the role of in-kind agricultural income, the financial tools in use, and the pain points where additional or improved financial tools could add value.


The Smallholder Diaries will provide a holistic picture of the financial lives of smallholder households not only as agricultural producers, but also as consumers, laborers, and off-farm entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal of this research is to translate the insights from the Smallholder Diaries into financial tools and provider practices that more effectively respond to the needs and preferences of this important client group. Drawing on initial data, this Focus Note shares early insights from the Smallholder Diaries, providing a first look at how smallholder households weave together agricultural and nonagricultural sources of income and employ a range of financial tools to meet their families’ needs. A nuanced picture of smallholder families will continue to emerge as more data are collected, with increasing focus on how they anticipate and manage risk, make household financial decisions, and leverage a range of financial tools.

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