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


With A Little Help, These Organic Farming Families are Navigating the Road to Success

Root Capital CEO Willy Foote visting Cooperativa RAOS in 2013. In the sleepy, highland town of Marcala, Honduras, there are no street names. To get from Marcala’s church – the town’s main point of reference – to Cooperativa RAOS, the country’s first 100 percent organic coffee cooperative just outside of town, you’d better have one of three things: a detailed map, a local guide, or a healthy dose of luck.

Using Mobile Technology to Empower Rural Enterprises

Napoleon Kwizera, production manager at Coffee Villages in Rwanda, the country of a thousand hills. As we turned the bend and continued down the hill on our way to the Coffee Villages coffee processing station earlier this month, we were greeted by Napoleon Kwizera, his phone raised and face scrunched as he furiously recorded coffee transactions into his phone. He greeted us quickly, distractedly, and indicated that he’d be with us as soon as he was done.

Asuom, Ghana: Where Sustainable Palm Oil is Not an Oxymoron

Serendipalm employees in Asuom, Ghana. Photo credit: Dr. Bronner's. One hundred miles northwest of Accra, Ghana, sits Asuom, a village of surprising and beautiful contrasts and contradictions. The vermilion clay earth and rust-tin roofs in Asuom pop in contrast to the verdant greens of forests nearby. But it’s within these forests that an even more unexpected paradox exists: large, splayed trees producing sustainable palm oil. Four thousand acres of trees are cultivated by the 670 farmer members of Root Capital client Serendipalm – the world’s first, and largest, fair trade and organic certified palm oil company.

15 Voices: An Interview with Esperanza Dionisio Castillo

Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Pangoa (Pangoa), a Fair Trade and organic-certified coffee cooperative located in San Martin de Pangoa, Peru, has been a Root Capital client for nearly a decade. Pangoa is a shining example of the power of the cooperative in local communities, and it’s unique in many ways – first and foremost, because it’s led by a woman. For the latest post in our 15 Voices blog series, we’re excited to share a recent interview with Esperanza Dionisio Castillo, Pangoa’s general manager, a true visionary who has been recognized internationally for her effective managerial skills and impressive commitment to Pangoa’s members and the broader community.

Shade-Grown Coffee: What’s the Big Deal?

If you bought a cup of certified coffee recently, chances are high it might have been brewed using "shade-grown" beans. But what is shade-grown coffee exactly, and why is it important?

From Guatemala, A New Framework for Exploring the Role of Rural Enterprises

In addition to providing us with new insights about the lives of smallholder farmers affiliated with four of our coffee clients, the data from Improving Rural Livelihoods helped us to refine our impact framework — a model that Root Capital uses to map how services provided by clients can lead to improvements in rural incomes for producer households.

Improving Rural Livelihoods: A Study of Four Guatemalan Coffee Cooperatives

Drawing from findings from four individual studies of coffee cooperatives in Guatemala, this "cluster study" explores whether Root Capital’s financing and training enable our clients to increase their impacts—and if so, to what extent. Download Executive Summary

Download Impact Study

Case Study: Tziscao

Tziscao aggregates and markets organic- and fair trade–certified coffee from 485 farmers in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. With this impact study, we seek to understand both the cooperative’s likely impacts on its members and of Root Capital’s impact on the cooperative, with regards to both farmer livelihoods and environmental performance.

Download Impact Study

Root Capital Client Sopacdi Brings Hope to the DRC

Sopacdi, a Root Capital client since early 2013 At this year’s Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) exposition, the world’s largest gathering of coffee professionals, all eyes were on Sopacdi, a coffee cooperative in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Root Capital client. Honored with the 2014 SCAA Sustainability Award, Sopacdi took center stage with its story of revival, growth and hope in the midst of a country ravaged by years of civil war and unthinkable violence.  

Trust and Credit: Critical Ingredients in the Mutually Beneficial Cycle

Ervin Miranda, Nicaragua coffee cooperative COOMPROCOM’s general manager. This is the third in a series that goes deeper on that social and environmental due diligence, addressing questions such as: What do we look for in the business we lend to, and why? How do we go about it? And how do small-scale producers and agricultural businesses in Africa and…