“If we didn’t have Root Capital’s support, everything would be different because we don’t have other financing. With the better price I get for my coffee, I pay for my children’s education.” –Maria Jovita Vasquez Carranza, a member of Aprocassi coffee cooperative in Peru
Without access to capital and viable markets for their crops, millions of smallholder farmers in like Maria are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty. Over the last 15 years, Root Capital, a nonprofit agricultural lender, has sought to grow rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses.
The World Bank estimates that growth in the agricultural sector is twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors in the economy. In order to continue leading the way toward a thriving market for agricultural businesses operating in poor, environmentally vulnerable places, we need your help. Together, we can confront global poverty by investing in agricultural businesses that grow long-term prosperity for smallholder farmers across Africa and Latin America.
Root Capital’s lending is directed toward businesses that are too big for microfinance, but generally considered too small, too risky and too remote for the commercial banks to serve – “the missing middle” of developing-world finance. Since 1999, we have disbursed more than $700 million in credit to over 500 businesses in the “missing middle” throughout Latin America and Africa, representing more than 850,000 smallholder farmers.
Each time an enterprise receives credit from Root Capital, an average of 1,000 smallholder farmers are able to access markets that pay premium prices. The majority of our clients are able to grow their businesses by 20 percent each year (with 30 percent actually achieving a growth rate of 50 percent or more). When our clients grow, their communities benefit.
Beyond economic benefits in the form of stable market access, Root Capital clients often offer farmers social services such as health care, education, and build physical infrastructure (roads, community centers, water treatment facilities) in the remote areas in which they operate – areas that public services almost never reach. This year alone, we’ve helped improve livelihoods for more than 375,000 farmers and their 2 million family members.
From now until the end of the year, we are able to double the impact of each dollar we receive in donation, and you can help us expand our impact. Thanks to the generosity of the Root Capital board chair, Jeremy Mindich, and our long-time partner Keurig Green Mountain, $1.5 million in donations between now and December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar. That means that every dollar you contribute to Root Capital in 2014 will be leveraged 1:1, towards a total of $3 million gift pool. Act today and help us lay the critical foundation for our next 15 years of achieving impact.
Are you ready to grow rural prosperity together?