Jobs for the Next Generation

As the youth population explodes worldwide, agricultural enterprises are turning a demographic challenge into an opportunity for impact.


Agriculture is more than just farming: complex supply chains and rising demand for food offer dynamic, entrepreneurial possibilities to the next generation. Root Capital helps small and growing agricultural enterprises recognize the power and potential of rural youth.

The Challenge

Today’s global youth population is 1.2 billion—the largest in history—with 88% living in developing countries. At the same time, the average coffee farmer is over 50 years old. This alarming gap threatens the future of rural communities. 

By encouraging existing local enterprises to invest in the next generation, we can create a win-win situation where young people have decent job opportunities while rural businesses benefit from a stronger local talent pool.

Our Approach

Connect agricultural businesses with promising young talent.

Train the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Help enterprises modernize their operations through youth-led adoption of digital tools.

Build the case for the role of agricultural enterprises in accelerating next-gen jobs.

Our Impact

99

47%

young professionals placed in Talent Partnerships with rural businesses since 2016.

of 2021 participants in Root Capital advisory services are youth.


Stories of Impact


Building Business Capacity from Afar: A Q&A With Root Capital Advisor Ousmane Sané

Root Capital’s innovative advisory services are powered by our talented team of advisory consultants. These trainers work closely with agricultural businesses to address the day-to-day challenges of running a remote enterprise. Working together, they build skills and processes that foster growth and resilience in the long term. One of these advisors is Ousmane Sané, known as Sané, who’s been a…

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.”

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.

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.

A Program That’s a Win-Win for Rural Businesses and Young Talent

This post originally appeared on the blog of the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab. Each year, more than 10 million young people across Africa enter the job market, competing for just three million formal jobs. As the continent’s youth population swells steadily towards a projected total of 800 million by 2050, this demographic crisis will intensify even further.

Ag Stigma Be Damned: Flipping the Script for Young People, Farming and Investment

The world's 1.2 billion young people represent either a huge demographic challenge or a massive opportunity. By supporting agricultural businesses that recognize the necessity of investing in the next generation, we can ensure that opportunity is unlocked. View Article

The Village Nut Company: A Thriving Macadamia Processor Attracts New Talent in Kenya

Like many of Root Capital’s clients, The Village Nut Company operates on razor-thin margins. Credit is essential for the enterprise to be able to purchase macadamia nuts at a fair price and pay farmers on time. When we made our first loan to Village Nut in 2015—$450,000 in trade credit—the business was working with 6,000 producers and earning $1 million…

Five Things I Learned from Our Youth Workshops in Nicaragua

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of traveling to the coffeelands of northern Nicaragua to see Root Capital’s advisory team in action.

Seeding the Future of Rural Communities

Young people in rural communities are struggling. There are few jobs. Those that exist are low-paying, physically demanding, and unfulfilling. It’s no wonder so many youth leave their family farms behind. Their parents can barely make ends meet. Crop disease and extreme weather make it harder every year. Eager to find meaningful work, young people migrate to urban areas at home and abroad—but jobs are scarce there too. With few options but a crowded slum and exploitative labor, their lives become even more precarious.

The Village Nut Company: Cultivating Young Agricultural Entrepreneurs in Kenya

This macadamia nut processor is investing in young people by creating reliable career paths. The annual macadamia harvest is now underway in Kenya, and The Village Nut Company’s hilltop factory in Nyeri County is buzzing with activity. As farmers deliver their crop and employees carefully hand-sort the finest nuts, the Muhara siblings are busy mentoring the next generation of agricultural…