Evidence details

The development impact of concessional finance to agri-business: a rapid evidence review.

Abstract

A Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) approach using a combination of key informant interviews and targeted literature searches of publicly available information has been used to answer the following questions: What is the evidence supporting the development impact of different forms of concessional finance to agribusinesses with respect to job creation, better living conditions, access to nutritious foods and climate resilience? Where are the major evidence gaps? The REA considered a number of finance sources, including development finance institutions (DFIs) that work principally through institutional structures, impact investors that provide investment capital in exchange for both finance and social returns and challenge funds that competitively allocate resources for social returns but with some expectation of financial return or capital preservation. It is revealed that the majority of the studies that most directly present information linking investments and development impacts are produced by the investors themselves in the form of case studies. They meet the needs of these institutions in terms of marketing and the provision of high-level findings to a non-technical readership, but they lack the rigour of better resourced and evidenced studies. A focus on the medium- and high-quality studies that do exist demonstrates that it is possible to generate interesting findings that link the provision of concessional finance to increases in farmer yields and incomes. More qualitative studies also provide an in-depth appreciation of how rural communities function and the factors that can influence the effectiveness of concessional investors in smallholder farming systems. However, there are currently not enough high-quality published studies to provide confidence in the quality of evidence available linking the provision of concessional finance to development impacts.

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