Smallholders working with the Wasil Foundation in Pakistan | Photo by Ayesha Vellani Photo by Ayesha Vellani

CGAP works with many types of financial service providers to translate our demand-side insights about smallholders into market impact. We are exploring ways digital innovations can break down barriers to serving the segment by tailoring savings, credit, payments and insurance products. Digital technology can also help foster collaborations among service providers in the financial, agricultural, FinTech and telecom sectors that favor sustainability and allow smallholders access to a wider set of financial and non-financial services. 

Designing Digital Financial Services for Smallholder Families


Financial service providers can leverage the strong savings habits of youth in smallholder families and their access to mobile phones to develop digital products that better meet their needs and aspirations.

High-saving youth in smallholder households tend to have strong savings habits and own mobile phones, and should be an important target group for financial services providers with digitally-enabled solutions.

This publication synthesizes learnings from across Zimbabwe, Senegal, Rwanda, and Cambodia, with the aim of providing financial service providers, donors, and other stakeholders with actionable insights into the ingredients for building successful, smallholder-specific digital financial services.

Current Projects

Enabling smallholder resilience in Nigeria. We are applying satellite technology to reduce the cost of delivering agricultural insurance to smallholders. The insurance product protects purchases of agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizer and prevents default on loans in case of a natural shock. It is delivered along with loans and agronomic advisory support.

Digitizing agricultural payments in Uganda. Working with UNCDF, CGAP explored the cost implications of cash and mobile money in the coffee value chain as basis for strengthening the digital payments value proposition for smallholders. Because cash leaves no trace, the transition to mobile money creates a digital footprint, enabling financial service providers to leverage payments and other data points to design financial services for smallholders.

Empowering agents to better serve smallholder customers. In Senegal, CGAP supported an innovative pilot that leverages smartphone technology to convert myAgro’s network of third-party agents from passive points of sale into more engaged participants in the company’s mission to improve farmer livelihoods.



Smallholder families that use agricultural insurance can increase investments in more productive farming and nonfarming ventures as they feel more confident in managing related risks. However, significantly scaling the use of agricultural insurance among smallholders has been difficult in many parts of the world, especially in Africa.
Blog Series

Despite ongoing efforts to serve the world’s 450 million smallholder households—the largest client segment by livelihood of those living under $2 a day—little is known about their financial needs and desires.

That is why we believe that a human-centered approach can play a