Stream E - Inclusive Finance & Investment

Agricultural finance and investment constitute the greatest challenge that affects rice production and processing in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). What inclusive agricultural financing and de-risking strategies can be employed to increase financial services access by smallholder rice producers and processors? What effects does inclusive agri-finance on gender equity as well as youth engagement have in making the rice-based food value chains more sustainable?

There is an increasing number of medium- and large-scale processors in SSA countries, with a positive signal shown by the governments to support such investment through newly-setup lending schemes under public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

In East Africa, financial inclusion has increased in both rural and urban areas due to the high rates of mobile money adoption and use. Today 72.9% of Kenyans aged 15 and older have a mobile money account. Despite the strong presence of mobile money in rural areas, most farmers remain financially excluded.

For the long-term resilience of the rice-based food systems, the only way to enable scale in production and processing is through value chains strengthening by increasing financial services to farmers through the other players in the value chains. Thus, we can support the farmer through engaging wholesale and retail actors, agrochemical manufacturers, equipment suppliers, transporters, and distributors. Under PPP arrangements, smallholder farmers are now able to access financial support to increase their production capacity and secure the market for their produce.

This thematic stream will draw on new empirical evidence and case studies from various countries in East and West Africa to identify and examine innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted the existing situation of poor access to financial services and investment.

Attendees will learn:

  • Key challenges and opportunities in upscaling both public and private financial services in rice-based food systems.

  • How existing policies and regulations can be improved to enhance the financial landscape in rice-based food systems.

  • How farmers’ organizations/cooperatives (as intermediaries), digital platforms, and mobile-based solutions can increase access to financial services to rice farmers and processors.

  • Case studies where inclusive financing arrangements have led to increases in production, productivity, and earnings for both women and men rice farmers and processors.

  • PPP arrangements in financing to the rice value chain that has been successful in improving quality rice processing and farm productivity, drawing from the example from West Africa

  • What incentives and approaches SSA countries can use to reduce risk and uncertainty and time delays for rice farmers while increasing their incomes.

20 May 2021

Virtual | East Africa Time (GMT+3)

11:00 - 12:30

Session E1

Improving Access to Credit & Finance for Small Producers and Processors

Chair: Dr. Hannington Odame, Executive Director, Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship


  • Improving Access to Credit for Smallholder Producers and Processors: Lessons from Mwea - Dr. Timothy Njagi, Research Fellow, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development

  • Improving Access to Credit & Finance for Small Producers and Producers and Processors - Ms. Sarah EL OUADILIi, Senior Investment Officer, African Development Bank


  • Esther Muiruri, MBA - Associate Director-Food and Agriculture Banking, Equity Bank

  • Mr. Mzee Kilele, Strategic Planning and Policy Manager, Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank

Q&A and take away messages

About the presenters

Timothy Njagi is a seasoned Development Economist with a wealth of 15 years of experience in the fields of development planning, policy implementation, and research. He holds a PhD in Development Economics and a Master’s Degree in International Development from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Japan. He has experience working in the public sector having worked with the National Treasury and Planning in Kenya and is currently a Fellow with Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development of Egerton University. His current research focus is on farm productivity, technology adoption, irrigation, governance, resilience and impact evaluation., irrigation, credit, governance, land issues, and resilience, where he has a number of publications. He is also a member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE), African Association of Agricultural Economics (AAAE), African Evaluation Association (AfREA), Evaluation Society of Kenya (ESK), and the Institute of Economic Affairs (EIA) in Kenya. He aspires to make a significant contribution towards addressing food insecurity and poverty in developing countries.

Sarah EL OUADILI has more than ten years of experience in Investment Banking, more specifically in the Agriculture sector. Before joining the African Development Bank, Sarah worked eight years as a Relationship Manager at Rabobank International. She was arranging and negotiating syndicated loans ranging from EUR 300 mln to EUR 1bln with the main European Financial Institutions, as well as bond private placement and equity-linked instruments for the large international agribusinesses and cooperatives. She was also a volunteer member of Rabobank Development, where she led linkage programs between smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, in Ivory Coast, and private corporates for inclusive value chain development. Over the past 3 years, she contributed to enlarge the African Development Bank’s client pipeline of large impact-oriented agribusiness companies as well as value chain development with a focus on improving smallholder farmers and SMEs capacities. She has also worked for the Public Sector, for La Banque de France as a Commissioner and for Dexia New York as a Credit analyst. She holds a Master of Finance from ISC Paris Business School and a Bachelor in Economics from Paris-Sorbonne University.

14:30 - 16:00

Session E2

Rice Sector Financing & Public-Private Partnerships

Chair: Mr. Hiroshi Hiraoka, Senior Advisor, Japan International Cooperation Agency


  • Leveraging Private Sector Finance for Rice in West Africa - Mr. Christopher Brett, Lead Agribusiness Specialist, World Bank

  • The Role of Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Improving Service Delivery and Governance in the Rice Sector of Kenya - Dr. Mulat Demeke, Senior Policy Consultant for FAO Zimbabwe


  • Dr. Paul Omanga, Chief Officer, Agriculture, Kisumu County, Kenya

  • Mr. Baba Robert, Senior Manager/Head Upstream SBU, The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending

Q&A and take away messages

Presentation overview

Leveraging Private Sector Finance for Rice in West Africa

Globally, current levels of investment in agricultural value chains are insufficient to achieve key development goals including ending poverty and hunger and boosting shared prosperity. To realize this vision, more private finance must be leveraged to complement scarce public resources, and investments should be directed strategically to Maximize Finance for Development (MFD). Factors that can help maximize finance for agricultural development include; i) improving the enabling environment for the private sector; ii) promoting responsible investment; iii) improving the policy and regulatory environment; and iv) using public financing to improve private incentives and to reduce transaction costs and risks—including through blended finance. There remains a critical need for public resources to finance essential public goods and services such as human capital, agricultural research, and infrastructure.

Sustainable development of the rice sector in West Africa represents an opportunity to maximize finance for development goals including improving food security, creating jobs and preserving natural capital. A recent survey of rice production in ECOWAS identified the top constraints facing the sector as access to finance, competition from imported rice, and access to mechanization. Under the MFD approach, public sector support would prioritize irrigation and storage infrastructure, access to quality inputs, increased incentives for lending, and import regulations. These improvements would encourage the private sector to formalize and invest in the value chain, strengthening supply chain relationships and providing millers and farmers access to finance to mechanize and upgrade equipment. The investment priorities described above would be ideally suited to a PPP model of financing, including irrigation systems and milling operations.

The World Bank is investing directly in rice development in West Africa through the Food System Resilience Program (FSRP), a $1 billion regional initiative which aims to strengthen the resilience of the food system to shocks in order to improve food security, reduce poverty and promote sustainable growth. The World Bank also supports broader development partnerships, like the Rice Observatory, which is designed to catalyze the rice sector’s growth in West Africa. This program will provide public and private perspectives to help governments harmonize relevant policies and coordinate access to finance for millers, farmers, and infrastructure development. The Rice Observatory and FSRP represent opportunities to implement and innovate on PPP models for rice sector financing.

About the presenter

Christopher Brett was appointed as the Lead Agribusiness Specialist with the World Bank in November 2016 and joined the Agriculture and Food Global Agricultural Practice, based in Washington DC. He has a Master’s Degree in Management for Agricultural Development from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. He has more than thirty years experience of working within the public-private and voluntary sectors in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Prior to working with the World Bank, he worked for 9 years as the Global Head of Sustainability for a large multi-national agricultural supply chain management company, as part of the senior management team, Chris supported the company’s transition from a trading-based company to a global agri-business supply chain management company.

Presentation overview

The Role of Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Improving Service Delivery and Governance in the Rice Sector of Kenya

According to the National Rice Development Strategy, 2019 – 30 (NRDS – 2), Kenya imports 90% of its rice demand but the country has a huge potential to produce enough rice and even export to countries in the region. The challenges to increase domestic supply are several and include lack of high yielding seed, high cost of inputs, poor post-harvest practices, distorted markets due to parastatal interventions and importation of cheap poor quality rice which is fraudulently repackaged and sold in the local market, lack of finance, and unfavourable land tenure. These same problems were identified back in 2008 when the first rice strategy (NRDS – 1) was launched in 2008 but very little has changed. There are some institutional and governance issues that seem to perpetuate the status quo.

Among key stakeholders in the Kenyan rice supply chain are: farmers and farmer organizations, policy makers and regulatory bodies, the National Irrigation Board/ Authority, research organizations (KALRO and universities), agro-processors, service providers such as stockists and seed producers and suppliers, rice traders and merchants, credit providers, consumer organizations, NGOs and CBOs. These stakeholders need an effective engagement to share power and drive the rice sector towards an inclusive development, generating adequate incentive for the producers and decent employment for the youth and women. A National Rice Stakeholders’ Forum (NRSF) was proposed and established under NRDS-1. In addition, a Technical Committee and Secretariat (renamed as e National Rice Technical Committee, NRTC, under NRDS-2) comprising Ministry of Agriculture (MoAL&F), KEPHIS, KARLO/KARI and universities, and NIB/NIA was established to provide technical and administrative guidance and undertake M&E activities. However, NRSF has never been active and there is no evidence showing that stakeholders had the opportunity to articulate their needs and shape policies to address the structural weaknesses and governance challenges in the rice sector.

The objective of this presentation is to review the factors contributing towards weak stakeholder engagement. It will try to identify the nature of key constraints followed by an assessment of the space provided to stakeholders in reviewing the design and implementation of policies and change interventions. The presentation will conclude with some recommendations on the type of multi-stakeholder engagement needed to reform institutional processes that favour the status quo, improve access to credit and other services, ensure adequate incentive to producers, and promote transparency and reduce asymmetric information.

About the presenter

Mulat Demeke has a PhD from Strathclyde University (UK) and worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) between 2004 and 2020, initially as a consultant in different African countries and then as a staff in Rome. Among his major tasks as a staff at the Agricultural Development Economics Division (ESA) were undertaking analytical works in the area of food and nutrition security, including policy responses of developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin American countries to food price volatility, production shocks, and trade disruptions. Between August 2016 and his retirement in October 2020, he worked at FAO/ Kenya as a Senior Policy Officer to support the operationalization of the Food and nutrition security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST) programme. His tasks in Kenya included serving as a policy advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture, supporting the formulation of a new agricultural growth and transformation strategy, and undertaking diagnostic studies on relevant policy issues. He also supported the private sector in establishing an apex body, known as the Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET), until his retirement in November 2020. Prior to joining FAO, Mulat Demeke was the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics of Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and Associate Professor at the Department of Economics where he completed his MSc degree in 1984. He also taught at the Haramaya University where he received his BSc degree in Agricultural Economics in 1980.