Isidro's Impact

The Isidro fund was launched in late 2020 with a singular purpose: to generate positive impacts on farmer livelihoods and the land by investing in underserved agricultural enterprises.

The fund has developed a robust impact framework and monitoring and evaluation system. We ask each of our clients to set impact targets related to two prioritized areas: 

Farmer livelihoods
Regenerative agriculture and land restoration

This focus on two core impact areas enables Isidro to aggregate its results and report on impact, not only client by client, but at the fund level. 

At a secondary level, we also track impacts related to rural employment, women and youth participation in business, access to finance, and the organizational capacity of agricultural enterprises. 

Farmer in a field with his crop

CRS-Isidro Impact Report 2023

Each year we highlight our collective impact, made possible by our donors and partners.

annual report

Progress to Date:


smallholder farmers with premium market access


hectares under restoration through regenerative practices



Isidro clients are first time borrowers


average level improvement in organizational capacity

Farmer Livelihoods

Why did we prioritize this impact area?

A quarter of the global population -almost 2 billion people- is dependent on smallholder agriculture for their livelihoods. Unfortunately, despite producing almost half of the world’s food, most smallholder families are living in poverty and lack access to markets for their goods. 

Inclusive business models, or value chains, seek to build sustainable, win-win relationships between suppliers and buyers. These types of trading relationships can be a powerful tool to increase the value received by rural providers at farm-gate, improving the livelihoods of smallholder families.

What are we measuring?

We collect data specifically on the income -at farm-gate- that a farmer earns from the cropping system(s) being financed by Isidro, and its contribution towards covering cost of production and reaching the Living Income Benchmark. We also track a few secondary, proxy measures for livelihood gains, such as, the percentage of the company’s overall revenue which ends up directly in smallholder’s pockets, the SME’s access to finance and their implementation of a transparent pricing strategy with farmer suppliers.

How do we support our clients to scale their impact?

We help clients hone their impact thesis, by strengthening inclusive business models which deliver additional value to farmer suppliers. This support may include the development of a transparent pricing strategy or policy, setting a farm-gate price framework based on cost of production or the living income benchmark, or the use of targeted premiums to improve the livelihoods of their suppliers.

How do we measure, verify, and report on progress?

After approving an investment, we conduct a baseline on the company’s pricing strategy, and farmer suppliers’ average crop income. Then, on an annual basis, we track how much revenue is being distributed at farm-gate to the average farmer supplier, and how that compares to market prices. We also evaluate the SME’s access to finance and their policies and practices around transparent pricing. Periodically, over the course of a loan, we conduct more in depth evaluations to measure changes in income, whether farm-gate income is covering the farmer’s average cost of production plus a margin, and finally, what percentage of a living income is being covered by crop/agricultural income. 

Catholic Relief Services is a member of the Sustainable Food Lab (SFL). SFL co-hosts the Living Income Community of Practice, which develops tools and resources for work on living income.

Land Restoration & Regenerative Agriculture

Why did we prioritize this impact area?

Land degradation and climate change are existential threats which already limit today’s agricultural production, and the problem is only growing. There is a need to scale regenerative agriculture to 40% of farmland (from 15%) by 2030.

Regenerative and restorative practices can not only help farmers improve their yields and income, but also adapt to the challenges of climate change, as well as playing a part in mitigating the problem through the decarbonization of supply chains.

What are we measuring?

We collect data on what agronomic practices are being promoted within the supply chain and implemented on farms, and what impact are those practices having on soil health, water quality, and carbon stocks. We will begin using the Cool Farm Tool in 2024 to track our client’s progress, and our contribution to the expansion of regenerative agriculture. 

How do we support our clients to scale their impact?

Over the past decade, across multiple geographies, CRS has cultivated a deep expertise, and developed a cadre of trained professionals in the areas of soil and water management, agroforestry, and land restoration. We have implemented proven methodologies and practices with thousands of farmers and farmer groups on millions of hectares of land, and generated tangible results related to yields, income, and soil and water quality. CRS has embedded this extensive work on land restoration and regenerative agriculture into its Vision 2030 strategy.

Isidro’s financing of nature-based and climate solutions, and its provision of technical support to clients to scale their supply chain’s implementation of regenerative agriculture is a concrete application of green and climate finance.

How do we measure, verify, and report on progress?

Once an investment is approved, Isidro conducts land baselines with each of its clients to take a snapshot of the practices being implemented within the supply chain. We work with our clients to develop an appropriate training and capacity building plan based on this information. Finally, we will begin using the Cool Farm Tool -an online greenhouse, water and biodiversity calculator for farmers- to evaluate our clients impact on the land and the environment.