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International development

Financial inclusion for food security

August 12, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis will have a major impact on global food security, compelling us to step up and combine our efforts to strengthen the resilience of agri-food systems.

In order to preserve adequate supply, nutrition and economic stability, it’s crucial to provide agroentrepreneurs with the support and financial resources they need. The initiatives carried out by Développement international Desjardins (DID) in recent years clearly demonstrate the financial sector’s indispensable role in supporting the maintenance and revitalization of local agri-food ecosystems from an efficiency and sustainability standpoint.

A global approach

Be it in Haiti, Mali, Colombia, Sri Lanka or Burkina Faso, our initiatives have led to a true transformation of agri-food systems thanks to our global approach, which takes into account all players associated with agricultural value chains—including financial institutions. Partnerships have also significantly increased our relevance and impact.

Here are some of the factors that have made our initiatives a success:

  • We’ve strengthened the capacities of financial institutions not only to improve the financial services offer, but also to provide hands-on support to their beneficiaries to encourage them to make appropriate use of available financial services and to adopt best agricultural and entrepreneurial practices.
  • We’ve also supported governments in facilitating the implementation of public policies, standards and support structures designed to assist agro-entrepreneurs.
  • We’ve placed a particular emphasis on strengthening women’s leadership and power. While women play a crucial role in agricultural development and the farm economy, they continue to be hampered far too often by inadequate access to land, inputs, markets and knowledge.
  • We’ve promoted synergies between players in the same value chain to facilitate agroentrepreneur access to inputs and markets.
  • We’ve offered training activities and specialized financial products to encourage the use of agricultural practices that are both sustainable and climate change-resilient.
  • We’ve made it easier for agro-entrepreneurs to access agricultural innovations developed by research centres with an eye to increasing their productivity and income.
  • We’ve contributed to the development and adoption by financial institutions of innovative, high-performance digital solutions to help assess the needs and capabilities of agro-entrepreneurs in the field and to facilitate and accelerate decision-making.

Secure and sustainable access to financial resources is without question essential to the recovery and resilience of agricultural and food systems (not to mention the achievement of many other development objectives). That’s why DID will continue to work closely with regulators, lenders, investors and other development stakeholders to ensure that financial inclusion can play its full role as catalyst and contribute to the achievement of the many sustainable development goals to which it is linked.