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FAR 2020

Great performance for the 1st e-learning session of the Agricultural and Rural Finance (FAR) programme

7 December 2020

On 4th December, the training in agricultural and rural finance (FAR) organised by ADA and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg (MAEE), through the CABFIN project which aims to improve capacity building in rural finance, ended. Initially planned in Luxembourg, the training had to be adapted to the health crisis. The new formula thus proposed an introductory e-learning session, with courses and webinars over 4 weeks.

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132 candidates, 64 selected, 19 French-speaking African countries represented

The programme was targeted at managers in financial institutions and programme officers in public agencies who develop strategies for designing and delivering products that help finance agricultural activities.
Out of 132 candidates who applied for the training, 64 participants from 19 French-speaking African countries were finally selected by ADA, MAEE and FAO to take part in the 4-week introductory session from 9 November to 4 December 2020.

A rich programme: 5 courses, 4 webinars, 10 expert speakers

For 4 weeks, the 64 participants had access to 5 introductory online courses that they could follow at their own pace:

Part 1: "Financial products and markets":
- market opportunities and product design
- digital financial services for agricultural financing
- financing mechanisms in agricultural value chains

Part 2: "Risk management strategies" :
- risk management in agricultural finance
- agricultural insurance

The courses also included online discussion forums with other participants and experts, as well as knowledge tests.

In addition, 4 webinars took place at the rate of one webinar per week, focusing on the current challenges of agricultural finance:
Webinar 1: "Lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic", Massimo Pera (FAO)
Webinar 2: "Agroforestry Financing and Management", Patrick Losch (ADA) & Kaspar Wansleben (FCCF)
Webinar 3: "The impact of climate change", Maylina St Louis and Nadine Valat (FAO)
Webinar 4: "Agricultural refinancing opportunities", Soulémane Djobo (ADA), Matthew Genazzini (ADA), Philippe Guichandut (Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation). This is an opportunity to introduce participants to the Smallholder Safety Net Upscaling Programme (SSNUP) launched last October, which aims to support smallholder farmers around the world, particularly in Africa.

A total of 10 experts from the agricultural and rural sector took part in the training to present activities and concrete results on given themes, thus making it possible to identify and analyse experiences in order to draw lessons with regard to best practices.

Active participation

The 64 participants showed a real interest in training in agricultural and rural finance, with each participant spending an average of 5 hours per week (between courses and webinars).
In addition, nearly 400 messages were exchanged on 5 forums between the participants themselves or with the speakers.

The word from the programme's pedagogical advisors

Massimo PeroMassimo Pera
Value Chain and Rural Finance Project Coordinator, FAO (also FAR Programme)

« I think this new online version of the training program is a perfect fit for the needs of the participants who will be taking the course, whether they are MFIs, banks, credit unions, technical support agencies/granters, etc.". The course essentially aims to provide elements of an answer to the following question: "How to respond to the needs of actors in agricultural value chains (farmers, smallholders and agro-SMEs), which have a great potential for growth, but which do not have access to adapted financial services". By merging an online and a face-to-face course, participants will have the opportunity to identify key issues and solutions that can help increase access to financial services for agriculture. »

Soulemane DjoboSoulemane Djobo
Head of Technical Support to Microfinance Institutions at ADA (also pedagogical referent of the FAR programme)

« The e-learning format chosen this year for the agricultural and rural finance (FAR) training because of Covid-19, aims at maintaining contact with stakeholders in the financing of agricultural sectors and value chains. The selected modules are essential because they constitute the backbone of the fundamentals in agricultural financing. While waiting for the face-to-face format, the e-learning format is intended to be a continuous stream to draw the attention of financial intermediaries to the constant need to know the market and to manage the risks by using the digital channels which are increasing in power. »

The word from participants

Pacifique Ngadano.jpg Pacifique Ndagano
Managing Director of SMICO

What was the most interesting, surprising and useful aspect of the FAR training?
I was very interested in the online organisation of the platform that facilitates the training in such a way that you don't feel like being at a distance. The follow-up of each participant is an impressive aspect of your e-learning approach and the pragmatic part of the case studies and individual exercises remain very useful parts of the training. For the first time I was able to use and exploit the different data from global findex and Faostat to better understand the market.

How did you find the interaction with the other participants?
The forum is a very interesting space that allowed me to benefit from each other's experiences (participants and facilitators). The part of the presentation of the participants also gave me an idea of the quality of the participants. This is an aspect that motivated my participation more because I benefit from the exchanges and experiences of others.

If you had to sum up your experience in one sentence?
It is a pragmatic training course rich in experience.

Badomba OuattaraBadomba Ouattara
Master's degree expert in microfinance and inclusive finance (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Germany)

What was the most interesting, surprising and useful aspect of the FAR training?
Let me take my hat off to you and congratulate you all for holding this training. Indeed, despite the context made difficult by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have made this second edition (FAR) a reality and even a great success after the first edition held in 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
I note that the most interesting and surprising aspect of this first introductory phase remains the continuity of the training activities despite the context of the pandemic. This shows that ADA is still developing and applying a business continuity plan, which is a very important aspect to consider. Another element to take into account is the adaptability of the organisers to the new context by implementing a collaborative learning platform that includes all the conveniences, flexibilities, flexibilities and containing aspects of learner performance monitoring that works in real time with reports from the participant.
Another element to be taken into account is the interactivity of the platform which includes all the material and didactic resources, as if the learner were actually in a classroom. This flexibility of the platform has encouraged fluctuating, rich and varied exchanges between the learners and 'speaker' trainers on the one hand, and between the participants themselves on the other.

How did you find the interaction with the other participants?
Personally, I found the interaction with the other participants very rich and enriching in many ways. As the name of the platform indicates, it really is an interactive and collaborative platform between participants. This session placed particular emphasis on collaboration between participants to share experiences from MFIs everywhere. I noticed that most of the participants were either managing directors, heads of department, heads of service or operational managers who have a lot of practical experience and are motivated to share their experience with the other participants. This made a big impression on me because I read with interest all the interventions of the participants and the responses of the trainers.
In view of the relevance of certain experiences shared by some participants and to make the most of this first session, I personally enjoyed documenting all the relevant and rich experiences shared by the participants in order to consult them later and implement certain practices in our institution.

If you had to sum up your experience in one sentence?
The FAR2020 online training is a real learning platform, collaborative, flexible and convenient, easy to use with all the material and pedagogical resources.


FAR 2019

Launch of the first FAR programme in French in Ouagadougou

29 October 2019

Ahead of the SAM (African Microfinance Week) 2019 in Ouagadougou, the first edition of the French-speaking training programme in rural and agricultural finance was held by ADA and FAO, through the CABFIN project. This programme aimed to strengthen the understanding of the issues and challenges of rural finance by executives of financial institutions in French-speaking Africa. For two weeks, 42 participants from 13 African countries were trained by 15 expert speakers in innovative techniques for accessing financial services for agricultural actors.