The financing of family farming in the context of liberalisation: A case study in West Africa

This article is aimed at shedding light on the question using the case of francophone West Africa. The data and analyses presented are drawn from different studies performed on the subject by CIRAD in partnership with microfinance operators in the north (CERISE Group, FERT) and the south since 1997. The present characteristics of the contribution of MFIs to the financing of agriculture in West Africa are presented in the first part of the article.

The second part consists to analyse, on the basis of observation and statements by MFIs and agricultural stakeholders in West Africa, the blocking factors that limit the contribution of microfinance to agriculture and identify the pathways and technical, financial and institutional innovations that could lift these constraints.

Finally, the author concludes that microfinance can improves its contribution to agriculture by means of long, in-depth work on the consolidation of the two sectors, the adaptation of services and products, making credit secure by means of technical and institutional innovations and strengthening links of mutual knowledge and trust. However, it seems obvious that the road to be followed to achieve the full meeting of the amplitude and diversity in agriculture is a long one.

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