Launch of the FAR 2022 training in agricultural and rural finance

04 April 2022

The introductory session of the training in agricultural and rural finance (FAR) 2022 took place today. In the next four weeks, participants will follow the online courses at their own pace and will discuss with other participants in an online forum. Caroline Morilhat and Thu Hien Dao, FAR training coordinators at ADA, tell us more about the highlights of this year’s edition.

ADA and FAO initiated this training course, which has seen an increasing success over the past 4 years. What are the innovative highlights of this 4th edition? 
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and ADA started to collaborate on the FAR training four years ago. The content has since been updated every year in line with current affairs and new technologies. This year, we planned two webinars on the impact of climate change and on financing agroforestry, among others. And for the first time, the online programme will run simultaneously on two platforms, in French and English.

How has the course evolved over the years? 
The experience and reputation we have built up over the past four years has enabled us to attract a very large number of applications this year, all of which were qualified. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to rethink the course content. We were able to make the material more accessible and digestible with the support of teaching experts, without sacrificing the added value that can be gained from the direct exchange between participants. The course modules can be followed individually according to the schedule of each participant, but we also offer webinars and forums to facilitate exchanges. The leaders of each module answer questions and provide follow-up throughout the course. We aim to provide personalised support to help participants gain a thorough understanding of the content and methods, so that they can effectively transfer and apply them within their organisation.

You received over 750 applications this year, a real indication of the popularity of the course! Which profiles were selected and why? 
It was not an easy choice, because as I said, the level was generally high. The FAR committee had to select no more than 150 people in total from more than 30 African countries to make sure we could provide high-quality support for each participant. We gave priority to executives with strong decision-making power within the organisation, but also to operational profiles who are better able to develop financial and non-financial services for actors in the agricultural sector. We believe that these profiles can really impact the existing organisation, because beyond the strategic influence, they have an overview of the organisation in terms of human resources, procedures or the involvement of different divisions. Playing a role in both strategy and operations is an essential aspect of implementing lasting and sustainable change. This year, we also had a lot of interest from insurance companies and fintechs. This allows us to have a variety of profiles and experience among the participants, which will ensure an exchange that I believe will be even more enriching. Who knows, maybe it will even lead to new collaborations.

What role does ADA play in the FAR training?
ADA and FAO designed the structure of the training and the content of the courses with the support of colleagues and experts in the different fields of agricultural and rural finance. In addition, the partners jointly coordinate the programme with all stakeholders, ensure the development of the course platform on the FAO e-learning academy, the online and face-to-face logistics and manage all communication and interaction with the participants. Each year, we include new webinar topics in line with current trends in the sector.

What impact is the training intended to have? 
The objective of the FAR training is to provide tools, methodologies and concrete examples so that participants can create new financial products in the field of agricultural and rural finance, which, as we know, involves different risks and complexities compared to other commercial or productive activities. We also hope that it will be an inspiring and motivating professional and personal experience. Finally, the 40 most assiduous and active participants on the online platform will be awarded a scholarship to attend the in-depth, face-to-face session in late 2022.

What can organisations do if they were not selected for this edition or simply did not see the information? 
If you did not have an opportunity to attend the FAR training this year, we advise you to follow all the FAR updates and other ADA news by subscribing to ADA’s newsletter.