Access to Finance

When small and growing agricultural enterprises can access affordable financing, they have a larger impact on rural communities.


Financing catalyzes enterprise growth, which results in better incomes, services, and other support for farming families. Over more than 20 years, Root Capital has loaned $1.6 billion to agricultural enterprises worldwide, proving that these under-served businesses are bankableand that access to finance can have a ripple effect in rural communities.

The Challenge

Too many small and growing agricultural enterprises are stuck in the “missing middle”considered too big for microfinance and too small and risky for commercial banks. Without access to credit, cooperatives and other businesses are incredibly vulnerable to shocks, from COVID-19 to climate disaster.

But businesses with reliable financingtailored to their unique needs and harvest cyclesare resilient. When that financing is paired with training in critical business skills, the potential for growth and innovation is boundless.

Our Approach

Provide tailored, affordable financing to under-served businesses.

Build enterprise capacity to manage and grow credit.

Pilot blended financing models to reach early-stage, riskier businesses.

Demonstrate proven models and build the agricultural finance sector.

Our Impact

$1.6B

83%

25%

disbursed to under-served enterprises.

of our 2020 loans filled credit needs unmet by commercial lenders.

average annual growth of Root Capital clients.


Stories of Impact


The Farmer Who Grew Your Coffee Is Losing Money on Every Cup

In the highlands of Nicaragua, coffee farms dot the countryside, powering an industry worth nearly $500 million. Coffee is a big business-both in Nicaragua and globally-but it’s driven by small-scale farmers who are finding it increasingly difficult to make a living.  Here’s what it looks like: Lucía’s* family has grown coffee for generations. But what was once a profitable career…

Evaluating How Root Capital’s Client Businesses Impact Smallholder Livelihoods: Oil Palm in Ghana

This evaluation analyzes the extent to which affiliation with an agriculture business supported by Root Capital's lending and advisory services—in this case, an oil palm aggregator in Ghana called Serendipalm—improves the wellbeing of smallholder farmers. With insights directly from the business' supplying producers, the report highlights the impacts of affiliation with Serendipalm on farmer livelihoods, as well as lessons about the efficacy of Root Capital's engagement with the business.

Download Report

How We Utilize Outcomes-Based Financing to Help Early-Stage Enterprises Grow

While you may not be able to find Matagalpa, Nicaragua on a map, you can taste it in your morning cup of coffee. This region is one of the world’s biggest coffee producers, thanks to the thousands of smallholder farming families who call it home. Individually, these farmers could never get their harvest from their field to your breakfast table.

This All-Women Cooperative is Feeding Hundreds During the Pandemic

Since 2007, the all-women AMPROCAL coffee cooperative in Ocotepeque, Honduras has worked hard to connect farmers with higher prices for their coffee on the international market. Starting with just eight members, they’ve grown to over 150 today. That means they’re able to improve livelihoods and grow inclusion for more farmers across the region. For the last four years, Root Capital…

Keeping Farmers Safe and Business Running: One Coop’s Pandemic Response

When Donald Delgado took the helm of UNICAFEC last November, the coffee cooperative was at a crossroads. Since its founding in 2001, the cooperative had been led by one man, Alfredo Alarcón, and his sudden death left a hole in the community’s heart—not to mention real fears for the businesses’ future. Donald himself worked under Alfredo’s leadership for more than…

Deepening Resilience in Rural Communities: Results from Root Capital’s Second COVID-19 Survey

During this global pandemic, one of the most glaring shortages is access to reliable information. That’s particularly true in the rural communities where we work. As public health and economic responses focus on the concerns of dense, urban areas, rural communities are being left behind. But it’s impossible to design an effective response in these communities without information on how…

Harvesting Under Quarantine: One Co-op’s Creative Approach

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of resilient, farmer-focused agricultural enterprises have never been clearer. For example, in Colombia, Root Capital client Federación Campesina del Cauca (FCC) is helping its farmers adapt to social distancing and other restrictions during the all-important coffee harvest season. Sustainable Harvest, one of FCC’s largest buyers and a Root…

Latest Findings About Root Capital’s Impact on Rural Livelihoods

Note: This blog is the final post in a four-part series exploring how Root Capital measures and manages the impact of our lending. Read parts one, two, and three. Impact measurement and management is at the heart of Root Capital’s work, helping us optimize our efforts to transform rural communities. By measuring our impact, we…

Evaluating How Root Capital’s Client Businesses Impact Smallholder Livelihoods: Cocoa Cooperatives in Peru

This study assesses the impact of Root Capital-financed businesses in the Peruvian cocoa sector on farmer livelihoods and gender inclusion using a retrospective comparison group matching technique.

Download Report

How Investors Can Integrate Social Impact With Financial Performance to Improve Both

Root Capital is a member of the Impact Frontiers Collaboration, which developed four steps to help investors integrate impact with financial analysis in their decision-making. It could change the way investors around the world allocate capital to achieve financial, social, and environmental goals. This article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review shows how. View Article