BRIEF:

Root Capital invests in the growth of agricultural enterprises so they become engines of impact that transform rural communities.
In order to address some of the world’s most fundamental challenges feeding the future, preserving the planet, and securing peace they need to focus on 2 billion people. That’s the number who live in rural areas on less than $2 a day. Many of them are farming to feed the rest of the world, yet they are not getting enough to eat. Many live hundreds of miles from accessible markets, without the roads to reach them.

HISTORY OF ROOT CAPITAL:

Founded in 1999 by Willy Foote, Root Capital works in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. They supply agricultural businesses with financial capital and training to help them grow. Root Capital has worked with more than 680 clients, representing 1.3 million farmers and their families and $4.5 billion in economic activity. All in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

THEIR MISSION:

Root Capital seeks to improve the lives of rural farmers by connecting them with the formal economy. They invest in the growth of agricultural enterprises so they can transform rural communities. These businesses purchase crops such as coffee, cocoa, or grains from thousands of smallholder farmers. They connect members to markets and help improve their farming practices.
With growth, these businesses become engines of impact that can raise incomes and create jobs, empower women and young people, sustain peace, and preserve vulnerable ecosystems.


CHALLENGE:

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide live in rural areas, beyond the reaches of modern infrastructure, outside the formal economy and heavily dependent upon small-scale subsistence farming. As demand for coffee and other crops from developing nations has soared in recent decades, increasing numbers of these farmers have ramped up their production or attempted to connect to global supply chains.

However, they often lack the technical and managerial skills to adequately handle their:
– Finances,
– Production costs,
– Fluctuating market prices, and
– Crop diseases.


THEIR IMPACT:

As of 2014, Root Capital had disbursed more than $600 million in loans to rural farmers and was nearing the one million mark in numbers of agricultural producers reached, most of whom are women.
Of critical importance, Root has helped connect its small-scale farmers to global retailers interested in environmental and social sustainability, such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Whole Foods Markets, and Starbucks.

THEIR IMPACT ON A LOCAL LEVEL:

With the help of Root Capital, coffee producers are able to receive higher prices for their harvests of organic, Fair Trade, arabica coffee, adding as much as $250 of extra revenue to their annual income in a county where roughly five million people live below the poverty line of $1 per day. Families who at one time were migrating out of the region or uprooting their coffee plants, burning them and selling them for charcoal have been returning to their home regions.


With each passing year, Root Capital continues to broaden and diversify its impacts. Among others, its programs are helping beekeepers in Guatemala, maize producers in Kenya, artichoke and jalapeno processors in Peru.

Source: www.opic.gov