Central America and Mexico

Since making our first loan to a coffee cooperative in Guatemala in 1999, we continue to invest in small and growing agricultural enterprises across the region.

From well-established cooperatives to early-stage businesses looking to grow, the region is full of enterprises poised to drive impact for smallholder farmers. This support is increasingly urgent, as the region battles natural disasters and other impacts of climate change. With offices in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua, we use innovative funding mechanisms to unlock the impact potential of coffee, cocoa, and honey enterprises.

In this region we currently work in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

Stories of Impact

Seizing the Opportunity to Train a Women’s Cooperative in Guatemala

Juana Hu Mateo, general coordinator at ACMUV. “In my home, my father and my mother always valued my sister and me less than my brothers,” says Juana Hu Mateo, a 41-year-old from Guatemala’s indigenous Maya Ixil community. Despite her parents’ lack of support and community norms against women’s participation outside the home, Juana persevered to study, eventually finding work as a seasonal coffee sorter at Asociación Chajulense, a coffee cooperative and Root Capital client in the western highlands of Guatemala.

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?

A View from the Kitchen

In past trips to visit Root Capital coffee clients in the “field,” I generally went to the actual field – that is, the coffee farm, where I was overseeing one impact study or another. When we’d get to a farmer’s home, we’d greet the woman of the house, and sometimes her daughter by her side, and off we’d go, usually with men, to visit the coffee plot and learn about the current production.

From Guatemala: Three Ideas for Improved Agricultural Training

Last month, we shared one of the findings from our recent multi-client impact study: that cooperative membership was associated with more widespread use of sustainable agricultural practices by farmers. Despite these signs of improvement, however, we also found that the overall use of sustainable agricultural practices remained limited. Most cooperative members reported using only a handful of the 10 sustainable agricultural practices examined in the study. When they did use these practices, members were often implementing them incorrectly or inconsistently from year to year, due to financial constraints or limited agronomic knowledge. 

Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Coffee Production: Learning from Guatemala

Last month, we shared key findings from an impact study conducted with four Root Capital clients, coffee cooperatives in Guatemala. Together, these cooperatives provide market access for over 800 smallholder farmers, who generally own one to four hectares of land.

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.