Financial Inclusion Fit to Size: Customizing Digital Credit for Smallholder Farmers in Tanzania

For the fourteenth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder FinanceDalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG) explores the causes of low uptake in digital credit for smallholders to better understand how we can develop concrete product solutions to jump-start adoption of digital credit products by them.

[Download the full briefing here] 

Digital credit products represent an important financial inclusion opportunity for smallholder farmers in Tanzania, where close to 80% of the workforce is engaged in farming. Uptake of these products by smallholder farmers, however, remains limited.

To address this challenge, Dalberg’s Design Impact Group used a human-centered design (HCD) approach across three regions of Tanzania to produce behavioral insights around smallholder farmers’ interaction with, and demand for, digital credit products.

Based on insights collected during their research, DIG designed and prototyped a new digital credit product for smallholder farmers and evaluated their response to it. This idealized digital credit product builds on existing products available in the Tanzanian market, but has five new components, each with multiple differentiated features, that meet the unique credit needs and behaviors of smallholders. These new components include:

  • Design enhancements to the core product to make loan sizes and repayment terms more relevant and manageable for smallholder farmers
  • Supporting features to improve customer engagement with the product
  • Ideas to increase the effectiveness of marketing, customer training, agent support, and other functions that drive product adoption and usage

The DIG team designed this idealized product to encourage Tanzania’s leading MNOs to customize their existing digital credit products to better meet the credit needs and behaviors of smallholder farmers. MNOs, financial service providers, and fintech companies that do not currently offer digital credit products can also adopt the new product’s features as they enter this space.

This blog was originally published on the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab - an initiative of The MasterCard Foundation, jointly implemented by GDI and Dalberg. Follow them at raflearning.org and @RAFlearning for the latest updates in rural and agriculture finance.

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