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 agricultural enterprises.

Build enterprise capacity to access and manage credit.

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

Demonstrate proven models and strengthen the agricultural finance sector.

Our Impact

$1.6B

83%

25%

disbursed to under-served agricultural enterprises.

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

average annual growth of Root Capital clients.


Stories of Impact


How Impact-Linked Financing Incentivizes High-Impact Investment in Agricultural SMEs

Over two years, the Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) project used impact-linked financing to extend $12M in credit to previously underbanked agricultural enterprises across Latin America. Learn more about the project's success and the implications this has for future impact-linked financing projects.

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Sorghum farmer tending to an open-air field filled with waist-high sorghum. The farmers' face is covered by a hat. Evaluating How Root Capital’s Client Businesses Impact Smallholder Livelihoods: Sorghum in Ghana

This report analyzes the impact of Root Capital lending and advisory services on a sorghum aggregator in Ghana and the impact of that enterprise on its suppliers and local community. Read on for exciting findings about Root Capital's engagement with the business.

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A woman stands in a group holding a sack of sorghum. She's wearing bright colors and is smiling. The background has many sacks of sorghum. Evaluation of Root Capital’s Financial Literacy Training Program for Sorghum Farmers in Ghana

In 2018, Root Capital launched a pilot program of a Farmer Financial Literacy training with sorghum farmers in Ghana and conducted a randomized control trial to evaluate its impacts. We present this report on the programs' findings and lessons learned for future interventions.

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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.

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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…