Digital Credit for Smallholder Farmers: Lessons Learned from the Field

Nicholas Lesher, Asuka Okumura, and Iulia Bogatu
World Bank

The ongoing digital revolution could be transformative not only for the financial inclusion of smallholder farmers but also for the food and agriculture sector more broadly, supporting the creation of more efficient, equitable, and environmentally sustainable operations.

This report’s primary purpose is to inform and share relevant experiences with those who have a role in designing or operating digitally enabled services for smallholder farmers—principally financial services but with broader relevance for other rural-facing services. In it, the World Bank documents lessons learned from an agri-credit pilot undertaken in Myanmar involving the microfinance institution BRAC Myanmar Microfinance Co., Ltd (BRAC) and a small consortium of other private sector partners. The project’s overarching objective was (1) to evaluate the ability of digitally enabled financial services to deliver appropriately designed loan products to smallholder farmers, thereby enabling them to invest in seasonal inputs to improve their productivity and (2) to assess the commercial sustainability of financial institutions to provide such loans to farmers.