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


SOPPEXCCA: Empowering Women Coffee Farmers in Nicaragua

This coffee cooperative invests in the advancement of women, education of youth, and community health programs. SOPPEXCCA is a Fair Trade and organic-certified coffee cooperative located in the jungles of Jinotega, Nicaragua, where 65% of the nation’s coffee is grown. This business is known for its emphasis on gender inclusion and the empowerment of women farmers—40 percent of its members…

C.A.C. Pangoa: Providing an Alternative to Coca Production in Peru

In the wake of paramilitary violence, this cooperative gave farmers alternatives to the drug trade—and became the beating heart of its rural community. Nestled in the foothills where the Amazon rainforest meets the towering Andes Mountains, the Peruvian town of San Martín de Pangoa exudes an aura of calm. Life seems to move at a leisurely pace; ambling through the…

COCAFELOL: Providing Education and Opportunities for Young People in Honduras

To ensure the long-term sustainability of coffee farming in their community, this cooperative cultivates meaningful career paths for youth. Many young people perceive agriculture as a career that’s difficult, unrewarding, or devoid of pathways for career advancement. Often, their perceptions prove true—and in parts of Honduras, the challenges faced by young people in rural regions have risen to the level…

C.A.C. Chirinos: Building Long-Term Resilience to Climate Change in Peru

When aging coffee trees and a deadly fungus threatened farmer livelihoods, this cooperative invested in long-term sustainability. Perched high atop a steep mountain in the lush Cajamarca region of northern Peru sits the proud town of Chirinos. Boasting a modern church and brand-new municipal building that serve as bookends to a well-manicured central plaza, the town hums with signs of…

On “The Road Where Life Was Once Worth Nothing,” This Business Gives Farmers Purpose

Thirty years ago, this place looked very different. Nestled in the foothills where the Amazon rainforest meets the towering Andes Mountains, the Peruvian town of San Martín de Pangoa exudes an aura of calm. Life seems to move at a leisurely pace; ambling through the town’s mostly-unpaved streets, you’ll see mototaxis rumble slowly past indigenous women cradling their babies in brightly-colored wool blankets. The hills rising above the town are patchworked with a lattice of small farms, and every moto and pickup truck seems to be laden with nearly-bursting sacks of coffee.

In This Corner of Honduras, “Agriculture” Isn’t a Dirty Word

For young people in many farming communities, agriculture has become a dirty word. But in Ocotepeque, Honduras, ag is cool.

Human-Centered Design: From California to Côte d’Ivoire

Last year, we asked young leaders in rural Ghana what it takes to be an effective agricultural business leader in their communities. Our next step was to translate what we learned into prototypes designed to strengthen the agricultural leaders of today and tomorrow.

Cultivating the Next Crop of Agricultural Entrepreneurs

Young managers participating in a financial management training hosted by Root Capital. Photo credit: Stuart Freedman/Argidius Foundation 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 entrepreneurs, fulfilling a promise they made years ago.

Cracking The Nut On Jobs: Q&A With A Togolese Social Entrepreneur

Togolese social entrepreneur Francois Locoh-Donou is at the forefront of efforts to build the capacity for nut processing within West Africa. View Article