IFC: Digital financial services and the digitization of agricultural value chains

IFC aimed to increase access to financial services in Lebanon by providing financial institutions with Investment and Advisory Services. IFC appointed PPI and InfoPro to carry out an opportunity sizing/mapping of the financial services sector. An additional focus of the study was to identify opportunities (such as digitalization) for stakeholders within value chains, particularly with regard to supporting financial inclusion of small holder crop farmers. This was conducted through desk research, stakeholder interviews and a demand-side focused survey.  Households, farmers, and entities belonging to the agri-food and non-agri-food sector – agricultural pharmacies, cooperatives and MSME’s – were interviewed in order to assess the needs, expectations, and gaps they have with regards to digital financial services. These complemented and validated the desk research outcome and conclusions. Financially excluded and the most vulnerable populations such as women and refugees were also incorporated. This led to the triangulation of data and the provision of recommendations highlighting actions required improving financial inclusion across Lebanon. In total, 1,380 farmers, households, and MSMEs were interviewed.