In Peru’s Coffeelands, These Women Mean Business

Along the impossibly steep and narrow road winding up to the village of Sanchirio Palomar, the only sounds are the rustling tree canopy and birdsong. It’s fitting, since the village’s name—a combination of Spanish and indigenous words—means “cold river with many birds.” With internet and reliable phone service only arriving last month, Sanchirio Palomar feels, at first, like a sleepy place where not much happens. But in reality, this remote Peruvian village pulses with ambition, creativity, and drive. Just ask Patricia. 

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Topics: South America | Stories of Impact | Women in Agriculture |

How Root Capital Measures and Manages the Impact of Our Work

Note: This blog post is the first in a four-part series exploring how Root Capital measures our impact and that of our clients on farming communities around the world.

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Topics: Our Community | Stories of Impact |

What We’ve Learned Through Seven Years of Our Women in Agriculture Initiative

For years, Dora Lisa Carrión Gómez rose early every morning to open Saja, a café in the quiet Andean town of San Ignacio in northern Peru. Saja is owned and operated by members of the women’s group of APROCASSI, a coffee cooperative where, for a time, Dora Lisa also served as president. “Women have always been discriminated against,” says Dora Lisa. “But when I joined APROCASSI in 2006, I saw this new reality: a reality where women could work, could advance. A reality where women could have power.”

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Topics: Stories of Impact | Women in Agriculture |

In Tough Conditions, This Nicaraguan Cooperative Blossoms

Wiston Vílchez had barely turned 24 when he took over as general manager of the fledgling Flor de Dalia coffee cooperative in 2014. At the time, the cooperative consisted of a handful of families who sold their coffee to local brokers at rock-bottom prices. The brokers then sold the coffee on the international market with a huge mark-up—pocketing all the profit for themselves. 

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Topics: Advisory Services | Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Partnerships | Stories of Impact |

How Investing in Young People Sets Coffee Businesses Up for Long-term Success

Duban Gómez Alvarado grew up expecting to one day enter the family business: coffee farming. The Alvarados have worked the flourishing fields of western Colombia for generations—but, in recent years, climate change has imperiled their crop yields. Simultaneously, the global coffee price has plummeted below the cost of production, leaving many farmers without a livable income. “For many years, we have been coffee farmers in my family,” Duban says, “but I am not convinced at the prospect of continuing with my family’s work.”

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Topics: Partnerships | South America | Stories of Impact | Youth |

How “Talent Partnerships” Unlock Business Growth in Rural Kenya

Eighty kilometers outside of Nairobi, the Patel family’s macadamia factory buzzes with activity. In 2016, Mehul and Chirag Patel founded macadamia processing business Rainsun Nuts; every year since, they’ve doubled their sales. Between their office in Nairobi and their factory in the rural town of Sagana, they’ve created jobs for dozens of people—the majority of whom are women, and many of whom are under 35.

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Topics: Advisory Services | East Africa | Partnerships |

To Adapt to a Changing Climate, Coffee Farmers Need Bold Allies

The saw makes a grinding sound as Albert, a young Ugandan agronomist, maneuvers it back and forth slowly, cutting through the trunk of the coffee tree. His colleague Ambrose stands next to him, bracing the tree and readying himself to carefully lower it to the ground once the trunk is severed. They repeat the process, one, two, three times for a single tree, cutting away three small trunks almost to the stump—until there’s just a single spindly-looking branch remaining.

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Topics: East Africa | Environment | Partnerships | Stories of Impact |

For Antonio And Roberto, A Small Grant Made A Big Difference

Over the past 20 years, we’ve offered hundreds of coffee businesses the capital and training they need to succeed. But to truly maximize their impact, these businesses sometimes require additional support. That’s why, in partnership with USAID Feed the Future, we launched a Resilience Fund that provides $20,000 grants to some of our highest-performing client businesses in Colombia and Peru.

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Topics: Livelihoods | Stories of Impact | Youth |

What Fair Trade And Other Coffee Certifications Mean For Farmer Livelihoods

Certifications give consumers insights into where their coffee comes from. But with so many certifications out there, figuring out what each one means can be challenging. Here's a short guide to help you understand the major coffee certifications—and what getting certified means for our client businesses and coffee farmers.

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Topics: Environment | Livelihoods |

Meet the New Chair of Root Capital’s Board

Ana Zacapa (third from right) accompanies the Root Capital team to visit client agricultural businesses in southern Mexico. In December 2017, I was in Chiapas State in southern Mexico when Root Capital’s Senior Manager of Advisory Services for the region, David Lozano, turned to me and said: “I’m so excited she’s on our board, asking such insightful questions—and in her native Spanish!” David was talking about Ana Zacapa, who was accompanying us deep into the mountains of Chiapas to visit coffee and honey cooperatives, and to hear directly from farmers both about the challenges they face and the innovative solutions they can access as part of an agricultural business.

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Topics: News and Announcements | Our Community |