Research & Analysis

Executive Summary – CGAP National Surveys of Smallholder Households

We learned a lot from CGAP’s research on the agricultural and financial lives of smallholder households throughout Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Bangladesh:

  • Mobile money is their most important formal financial tool, but few own smart phones.
  • Use of informal financial mechanisms, like village savings and loan associations and savings and credit groups, is uncommon, though they have active financial lives.
  • Cash is king: They pay for suppliers and get paid by buyers almost exclusively in cash. The sale of agricultural outputs through contracts is extremely rare.
  • Livelihoods are diverse. In some households, farming is for subsistence, others see farming as a business, and some others is farming as part of a transition to other opportunities.

These are just a few of the key points gleaned from the 18,000 total surveys CGAP analyzed. This executive summary highlights key themes in this wealth of information on smallholders from the six countries, including household demographics, sources of income and expenses, the formal and informal financial tools used, and level of trust in financial services providers. The summary also outlines the intersection of smallholders’ financial and agricultural lives and answers important questions: What crops and livestock they do they grow? Who buys it? How do they get paid for it? How does this all fit into their overall livelihood strategy?

Each short section in this summary complements CGAP data and insights for each country and shares key thematic data from across the six countries. It then briefly addresses two important questions on the selected results: What are the data telling us? What does this mean for financial services providers (FSPs) and other stakeholders working in financial inclusion?

These insights are meant to inspire FSPs to look more closely at their market and uncover opportunities to better serve smallholder households. The data are nationally representative and can be used with other datasets and estimates to size the market and inform business models. They can also be used to pursue a range of research questions and conduct market segmentations to better understand the heterogeneity of smallholder households.

Details on survey methodology, slide decks summarizing the findings, and the complete datasets for each country are published on the CGAP Smallholder Families Data Hub, the CGAP website, and the World Bank Group Microdata Library.

Thumbnail image: Photo by Allison Shelley for CGAP