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Adoption of Agricultural Innovations through Non-Traditional Financial Services

The MEDA INNOVATE learning agenda highlights research assessing the potential of non-traditional finance to promote agricultural innovation adoption among smallholder farmers across East Africa, South America, and South Asia.

INNOVATE’s learning resources are tailored to provide policymakers, implementers, and donors with practical insights and forward-looking solutions.

We invite you to explore our publications, blog posts and other resources produced by our partners. Our learning themes currently focus on customer centricity, agricultural household norms, smallholder products/services, and policy and ecosystems change.

Publications & Insights

INNOVATE Event: Learning Journeys of Smallholder Finance and Innovation Adoption
INNOVATE Side Event Presentation
30 September 2019


Hosted by MEDA INNOVATE, this learning event showcased lessons and partner journeys on learning, testing and documenting how non-traditional finance can support smallholder producers to uptake agricultural innovations and technologies in Kenya and Rwanda.

The learning event aimed to stimulate dialogue and discussion around the MEDA INNOVATE learning agenda on relevant themes and topics for the region with special focus on non-traditional financing models, gender and women's economic empowerment. Speakers included Calvin Miller and INNOVATE partners Bidhaa Sasa, Dodore Kenya Ltd., and World Relief Rwanda.

This side learning event was held on September 30 before the AFRACA International Conference on Best Practices in Rural and Agricultural Finance (1-3 Oct 2019).

INNOVATE Webinar: A Customer-Centric Lens for Good Agricultural Practices
INNOVATE Webinar Presentation
26 September 2019


This webinar focused on the benefits of adaptive GAP, how they relate to customer centricity, and how implementers can incorporate this approach in their programming.

Presenters Nick Ramsing (MEDA) and Anne-Cécile Delwaide drew on practical lessons and best practice from INNOVATE's diverse project portfolio, and shared insights into challenges and opportunities for adaptive GAP from the Chithumba model for soybean farmers, implemented by INNOVATE partner Agronomy Technology Ltd. (ATL) in Malawi.

Read more about the featured resources:

Missed this webinar? The webinar recording is available now.

A Customer Centric Lens for Good Agricultural Practices
INNOVATE Learning Paper
26 September 2019


Industry actors need to broaden and expand on Good Agricultural Practices’ (GAP) agronomic perspective (e.g. “how to grow”) to include a business case orientation centered on specific markets. Fundamentally, adopting GAP is a business investment decision that includes optimizing additional revenue and risk-based decisioning making by smallholder farmers. In order to adequately address these factors, it is necessary to:

  • Emphasize the market context, not only the agronomic and growing practices;
  • Adopt a customer centric perspective that treats smallholder farmer segments differently; and
  • Adopt a business orientation to promote the business case and the value proposition
A Case Study of the Chithumba Model – A non-traditional finance mechanism to improve access to farm inputs in Malawi
Partner Publication
July 2019


Agronomy Technology Limited (ATL) has been working on Malawian smallholder farmer value chains since 2010. The organisations’ core focus has been the development and implementation of innovative digital extension tools for rural environments. The long-term goal being the facilitation of commercially viable smallholder value chains and the integration of these value chains into the formal market. The implementation of the Chithumba model and recently published case study provides valuable insights into the opportunities and constraints faced by smallholder soybean producers in Malawi.

Redefining finance for agriculture: green agricultural credit for smallholders in Peru (Eng)
Partner Publication
April 2019


This publication was originally published on Global Canopy’s website (04/04/2019).

The majority of Peru’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from land use change, primarily caused by agricultural expansion into native Amazon forest. This occurs mostly in small patches and has historically been associated with smallholder agriculture. This means Peru’s agricultural sector needs to change if the country is to meet its climate targets.

Smallholders in the Amazon are one of the most vulnerable groups in Peruvian society. According to the most recent poverty statistics in Peru, around half of rural populations are poor. The jobs generated in these regions are predominantly in agriculture, and rural smallholders have not benefited equally from financial inclusion efforts, which concentrate in urban areas. Without access to the finance needed to transition to sustainability, smallholders are trapped in a cycle of deforestation.

This major new report details how this cycle of deforestation can be broken.

Redefiniendo el financiamiento para la agricultura: crédito agrícola verde para pequeños productores del Perú (Esp)
Publicacion de nuestro socio
abril 2019


Esta publicación se publicó originalmente en el sitio web de Global Canopy (04/04/2019).

La mayoría de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) de Perú provienen del cambio en el uso de la tierra, principalmente debido a la expansión agrícola en el bosque nativo del Amazonas. La mayor parte de esto ocurre parte en parcelas pequeñas que históricamente se ha asociado con la agricultura de los pequeño agricultores. Esto significa que el sector agrícola de Perú debe cambiar para que el país cumpla con sus objetivos climáticos.

Los pequeños agricultores en la Amazonía son uno de los grupos más vulnerables en la sociedad Peruana. Según las estadísticas de pobreza más recientes en Perú, casi la mitad de las poblaciones rurales son pobres. Los empleos generados en estas regiones son predominantemente agrícolas, y los pequeños agricultores no se han beneficiado igualmente de los esfuerzos de inclusión financiera que se concentran en las áreas urbanas. Sin acceso al financiamiento necesario para la transición a la sostenibilidad, los pequeños agricultores se encuentran atrapados en un ciclo de deforestación.

Este nuevo informe importante detalla cómo se puede romper este ciclo de deforestación.

Starting Small: Pathways to Customer Centricity
INNOVATE Learning Paper
January 2019


The following learning paper on customer centricity is the first in a suite of documents from the INNOVATE learning series. This paper provides techniques and insights on improving customer centricity for financial institutions, agricultural companies, and implementers focused on:.

  • Smallholder farmer behavior,
  • Financial services delivery for smallholder farmers,
  • Customer segmentation,
  • Testing and promoting innovation processes and mindsets,
  • Applying a customer-centric lens, and
  • Stimulating the adoption of agricultural innovations.

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