Root Capital Reaches Major Milestone: Tops $100M in Active Loans
CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 3, 2015 – Pioneering agricultural impact investor Root Capital announced today that it has achieved a major milestone, topping $100 million in active loans. This is the highest outstanding portfolio balance in Root Capital’s history, and it underscores the growth of much-needed capital to agricultural businesses that have historically been unable to access credit. The 270+ businesses in Root Capital’s portfolio connect farm families to reliable, well-paying markets and improve household livelihoods in some of the world’s poorest and most environmentally vulnerable places. “Scaling Root Capital to a portfolio of more than $100 million in active loans demonstrates that there is a critical mass of small and growing agricultural businesses in the developing world able to qualify for — and repay — credit,” said Willy Foote, founder and CEO of Root Capital.
“Behind each client in our growing portfolio is an average of 1,000 farmers who are gaining market access and receiving higher prices for their products, enabling them to make critical investments in their children's education and their homes."
The milestone coincides with the organization’s 15th anniversary. In 1999, its inaugural loan of $73,000 was made to a cardamom and coffee cooperative in Guatemala. Since then, Root Capital has disbursed nearly $800 million in credit to 530 businesses, representing 1.1 million smallholder farmers. Facilitating this milestone are Root Capital’s more than 150 individual and institutional investors. Since Root Capital’s inception, all of the organization’s investors have enjoyed a 100 percent repayment rate. “From here we continue to push the frontier of agricultural finance to reach more of the world’s 450 million smallholder farmers,” said Foote. “This milestone is a valuable proof point that will help attract more capital to this critical market.”
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About Root Capital
Root Capital is a nonprofit agricultural lender that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by providing capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Since 1999, Root Capital has disbursed nearly $800 million in credit to 530 businesses, representing 1.1 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital’s clients produce dozens of different agricultural products, from coffee, cocoa, and cashews, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to wild-harvested products like natural gums and shea butter. For specific client examples, see: http://www.rootcapital.org/portfolio