How These Mayan Farmers Are Modernizing a Two-Thousand-Year-Old Tradition

For the Maya, bees and their honey have always been sacred. Bees are a symbol of fertility and abundance; kaab, the Mayan word for bee, can also be translated as “force,” “land,” or “world.” But for the Mayan producer-members of the EDUCE cooperative, honey isn’t just a part of their cultural heritage. It’s also their livelihood.

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Topics: Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Stories of Impact |

Sweetening the Deal for Cocoa and Honey Producers: Root Capital’s New Partnership with the Trafigura Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation

Honey and chocolate are made to satisfy the sweet tooth, but these treats aren’t always a sweet deal for the smallholder farmers that produce them.

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Topics: Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Our Community | Partnerships |

Unlocking Opportunity for Those Who Need It Most

Two billion. That’s the number of people in rural communities who are struggling to survive on less than $2 per day. Many of them are farming to feed the rest of the world, yet they aren’t getting enough to eat. Many live hundreds of miles from accessible markets, without the roads to reach them. With few choices, they’re forced to sell their hard-earned crops at rock-bottom prices. But there’s a way out of this cycle of grinding poverty.

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Topics: Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Stories of Impact |

What a Dollar Can Do

Root Capital was founded in 1999 with a commitment to raising incomes for farmers working in the most vulnerable regions of the world. But instead of working with farmers directly, we chose to focus on the agricultural businesses that create economic opportunities for hundreds, or even thousands, of farmers at a time.

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Topics: Livelihoods |

Internal Credit Funds: Extending Credit Where it’s Needed Most

Members of APROCASSI, a coffee cooperative in Peru, line up to apply for credit from the cooperative's internal credit fund. When asked about the effect that a rural business’ internal credit fund has on farmers, Root Capital advisor Fany Murillo answers with a single word: “epic.”

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Topics: Advisory Services | Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America |

Investing in Uganda’s Coffee Sector

After a decade of growth, a coffee cooperative shows why reliable access to finance is critical for success. Global coffee consumption is on the rise. According to the International Coffee Organization, demand will increase by 25 percent over the next five years. As The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, this offers tremendous opportunities for smallholder coffee producers in Uganda, Africa’s biggest coffee exporter. It’s here where, in my role as a portfolio manager for Root Capital, I witness how the cultivation and sale of coffee can transform rural communities. Since 2005, Root Capital has lent over $200 million to small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Africa, including more than $80 million to clients in East Africa’s coffee industry. And I have seen how access to finance is a crucial ingredient in the sector’s growth.

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Topics: East Africa | Livelihoods | Stories of Impact |

What’s It Like to Run a Coffee Business?

A look at the challenges and decisions that agricultural entrepreneurs experience over the course of a year.  PART I: HARVEST

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Topics: Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Stories of Impact |

As Demand Grows, It’s Time to Invest in the Future of Coffee

This year, the world will consume more coffee than ever before. And industry projections point to growing demand in the years ahead, especially in emerging markets. Take China, for example. During its annual investor meeting last month, Starbucks highlighted that it’s opening the equivalent of one new store in China every day. The problem, however, is that this rising global demand for coffee cannot be met with a dwindling supply.

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Topics: Environment | Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | News and Announcements | Partnerships | South America |

Odds Stacked Against Her, This Woman is Rising to the Top of Her Game

Kenia Ubeda, general manager of UCCEI, a Root Capital client in Matagalpa, Nicaragua Kenia Ubeda never thought she’d be running a coffee business. “I was an agronomist and a coffee farmer,” she says with a smile on her face. “I didn’t know the first thing about commercializing coffee.” But the community leaders who tapped Kenia to found and run UCCEI, a farmer cooperative in the coffee-fueled town of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, knew she had what it took. And in 2009, Kenia rose to the challenge and became UCCEI’s general manager, overseeing a business currently sourcing from over 900 smallholder farmers in the region.

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Topics: Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Stories of Impact | Women in Agriculture |

Con un poco de ayuda estas familias de agricultores orgánicos transitan el camino del éxito

En las tierras altas de Marcala, en Honduras, donde las calles no tienen nombre, para poder ir desde la iglesia - el punto principal de referencia que se utiliza en el pueblo– hasta la Cooperativa RAOS (la primera cooperativa de café 100% orgánica del país), es necesario contar con una de estas tres cosas: un mapa muy detallado, una guía local o una buena dosis de suerte.

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Topics: Advisory Services | En Español | Environment | Livelihoods | Mexico and Central America | Stories of Impact |