Reaching Rural Areas

A central goal of Oikocredit is providing financial services to those who generally have no access to these kinds of services. This is especially true for rural areas.

Rural areas and agriculture

The primary livelihood of people in rural areas is usually some form of agriculture—small-holder farming, agriculture wage labor, raising livestock. Nearly 80 percent of rural people farm, and typically the poorest rely the most on agriculture.

Reducing rural poverty therefore means helping farmers manage risk, develop and use well-functioning markets, and deal with the seasonal nature of agriculture. (Source: Rural Poverty Report 2011, International Fund for Agriculture Development)

An example of work by Oikocredit is the rural outreach program established by Terrafina Microfinance in Africa. Founded in 2005 as a joint microfinance effort of ICCO, Oikocredit International and Rabobank Foundation, Terrafina provides a complete package of financial and technical support to MFIs in rural areas as a tool for poverty reduction.

Terrafina reports that, in five years time, it financed more than 135 projects designed to energize and support rural microfinance efforts.

Among the challenges for farmers, weather is a constant risk. Manolita Gonzalez, Regional Coordinator for Capacity Building and Social Performance Management for Oikocredit Southeast Asia, attests to that.  “We can get 30 typhoons a year in the Philippines,” she says. “In addition to flooding, farmers also have to deal with drought and pests.”  To address these critical problems, Oikocredit is developing a regional module for risk management in agriculture.