Geodata and ICT Solutions for Inclusive Finance and Food Security

This paper presents an overview of the possibilities and challenges of using geo-data and ICTs to improve agricultural production and access to finance for smallholder farmers. Recent technological developments can assist in increasing agricultural production, adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change and further expand financial inclusion. The most important areas of ICT development for smallholders are:

  1. improving agricultural production;
  2. facilitating market access, and;
  3. improving access to financial services.

While these applications are very promising for improving agricultural production and growth in outreach of financial services; there are still few cases that combine the two aspects. The paper argues that such a combination would be able to trigger the much needed growth in agro-finance. An inquiry into the lessons learned identified several areas that are relevant for speeding up developments that benefit smallholder farmers and the financial institutions that serve them:

  1. A good policy and regulatory environment is needed to streamline actors and interventions.
  2. Design appropriate information packages for farmers
  3. Financial institutions, especially those operational in rural areas, need guidance and support to enter into the digital highway.
  4. New technology needs high upfront development costs.

From this paper, it becomes clear that innovative partnerships are required.

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