Loans for good water stewardship
Due to soil erosion, upland smallholder farmers are significant sources of non-point source pollution such as sediment, nitrogen and phosphorous. These forms of pollution can kill downstream aquatic animals and plants and make downstream urban water treatment costlier. Despite standing to benefit from new, more sustainable farming practices, smallholder farmers are reluctant to adopt them, primarily because the up-front incentive to change is insufficient. Traditional forms of watershed management have failed to address this problem, and natural resource managers have struggled to find sustainable financing tools.
F3 Life provides flexible credit and technical farming advice to smallholder farmers in developing countries. To motivate farmers to shift to more sustainable forms of land management, its loan terms and credit-scoring system incorporate requirements for soil and water conservation which improve watershed services.
F3 Life recruits clients from existing farmers' groups in in the Nairobi River watershed, making loan agreements that offer higher credit limits and lower interest rates to borrowers who adopt specific conservation practices. The financial benefit per client is estimated to be USD 1 800 over six years due to increased productivity and avoided costs associated with soil erosion.
GOALS AND EXPECTED IMPACT
F3 Life's objectives are to improve upstream farmers’ well-being through increased productivity and income, encourage on-farm soil and water conservation to make those productivity gains last and manage watersheds more sustainably for everyone’s benefit.