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Publication | 6 May 2021

Women in Agriculture Using Digital Financial Services: Lessons Learned from Technical Assistance Support to DigiFarm, Fenix, and myAgro

Women in rural areas, and in particular female farmers, have significantly less access to financial services than their male counterparts. Such limited access is harmful to female farmers and their families and significantly impedes their ability to grow and prosper. Female farmers tend to have limited access to formal savings and credit, which limits their ability to manage shocks and invest in seasonal inputs or in durable goods and productive assets. It is estimated that closing the gender gap in access to productive assets could lead to a 20-30 percent yield increase per household, which would benefit not only female farmers, but also their families (FAO 2011). One of the main issues that keeps financing out of the reach of female farmers is that women tend to be time constrained, which indicates the need for easy access to and convenience of financial products. Suitability, ease of use, and convenience are important determinants of access to financial services for women in agriculture. Digital financial services (DFS) have the potential to unlock financial services for women in agriculture; however, currently, significant gender gaps exist in DFS access and usage. By allowing female farmers to make financial transactions without the need to go to the branch of a financial institution, DFS can offer them a safe, private, and convenient way to save money, access loans, make and receive payments, or access insurance. However, many DFS providers see an imbalance in the uptake and usage of financial services by gender. In 2018, the World Bank provided technical assistance (TA) to three financial service providers (FSPs) to help them deliver financial services to female farmers using digital means.

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