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Credit Between CulturesFarmers, Financiers, and Misunderstanding in Africa$
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Parker Shipton

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300116038

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300116038.001.0001

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Self-Help and the Underground

Self-Help and the Underground

Individual Incentive and the Group Guarantee

(p.156) Chapter 10 Self-Help and the Underground
Credit Between Cultures

Parker Shipton

Yale University Press

After several decades' experience of international farm finance programs, financiers began wondering what lessons they might “borrow” from farming people themselves—not just about farming and borrowing but about lending and saving. This chapter briefly presents some of those lessons. It discusses how, where land for farming is becoming scarce, as it has been in western Kenya over the past century, people who farm have had to rely increasingly heavily on supplemental or off-farm activities, if only to keep their families fed, and how the small enterprises in which they do so have received ever more attention from private aid agencies, as these have become increasingly involved in finance over three decades. The turn of these agencies to microfinance has amounted to something like a revolution in the aid world. The chapter argues that this revolution raises many questions, which are both practical and moral.

Keywords:   farm finance programs, financiers, farming, borrowing, lending

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