Richard is a smallholder maize farmer in Western Kenya. He used to borrow money from his family or friends to buy essential inputs to grow maize—seed, fertilizer, and equipment—because he couldn’t access a formal loan from a bank. Most banks consider him a high risk client because of his low-income and lack of credit history. Recently though, Richard obtained a $50 loan for his farming business. By processing and analyzing satellite imagery on his farmland and cropping cycle, in combination with other alternative data, a lending organization was able to assess his creditworthiness.
Two agriculture FinTechs integrated satellite imagery into their business models and product offerings, illustrating the promise and limitations of big data in financial services.