South America

In the Andes, the landscape is dotted with smallholder farmers making their livelihoods by growing coffee or cocoa.

These farmers are members of cooperatives, associations, or social enterprises that allow them to fetch premium prices on the international market. Our Colombia-based staff work in conjunction with our Peru-based partner organization, ACCDER, to equip these enterprises with the credit and capacity building they need to go even further for South American farming families.

In this region we currently work in Colombia and Peru.

Stories of Impact


Coffee, Culture and Change in The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Root Capital board members and staff with the leaders of ANEI, a Fair Trade and organic coffee cooperative in Colombia In late February, I joined a few members of Root Capital’s staff and fellow Board members in traveling to visit ANEI, a Fair Trade and organic coffee cooperative located in the mountains of northeastern Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The cooperative, which has been a Root Capital client since 2012, has 700 small-scale coffee farming family members from four indigenous groups – the Arhuacos, Koguis, Wiwas, and Kankuamos – each with a distinct language.

Peru’s Coffeelands: Where Women are Taking Charge

Dora Lisa Carrión Gómez, president of the women's group at the coffee cooperative APROCASSI.  Businesswoman. Farmer. Community leader. Mother. Most of us would struggle to be any one of those things. Dora Lisa Carrión Gómez? She’s all four.

Sparking a Data Revolution in the Peruvian Andes

Using tablet-based technology to conduct farmer-level surveys allows cooperative managers to analyze trends that inform better management decisions.  In 2014, Root Capital was conducting routine household surveys with farmers in the Peruvian Andes to assess the impact of its work with UNICAFEC, a local coffee cooperative. Noting the tablets and digital surveys used by Root Capital’s research team, Alfredo Alarcón, UNICAFEC’s manager, made a simple request: could Root Capital teach his staff how to use similar technology to perform annual farm inspection audits, a burdensome requirement for organic certification?

How this Peruvian Artisan is Running a Business on Her Own Terms

Fany Paty, artisan supplier to Art Atlas, a textile business based in Arequipa, Perú. Fany Paty always wanted to run her own business. Like many entrepreneurs, Fany longed for a job where she could have flexible working hours and a healthy degree of independence. But for Fany, this wasn’t a matter of personal preference. She needed to bring in enough money to provide for her family while still having the time to care for them day-to-day.

A Step Towards Peace

Two years ago almost to the day, 60 Colombian musicians came together and released a song called “Un Paso Hacia la Paz” (“A Step Toward Peace”). Amid joggling maracas, an impassioned choir of pop stars, indigenous singers, and Vallenato musicians sing, “Así es como canta Colombia por la paz” (“This is how Colombia sings for peace”), urging for an end to the country’s 50-year armed conflict. Fast-forward to today, and the peace Colombia sings for is finally within reach.

The World of Farmer Finance is Changing

With Jose Dominguez, a coffee farmer and producer member of RAOS, a Root Capital client in Honduras The world of farmer finance, as we know it, is changing.