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Root Capital Central America

Root Capital, Central America

Improving smallholder farmer livelihoods by strengthening cooperatives in the coffee, cocoa and honey sectors.

Improving smallholder farmer livelihoods by strengthening cooperatives in the coffee, cocoa and honey sectors.

(Programme concluded and no longer supported by the Trafigura Foundation)

Agricultural enterprises, with proper support and access to finance, can improve the lives of millions of vulnerable rural families. In Central America and Mexico, agricultural cooperatives play a critical role in linking farmers to global markets, providing them with agronomic training and ensuring stable incomes. However, limited access to critical assets, as well as under-developed financial and accounting expertise, makes small farmers vulnerable to external threats such as volatile commodity markets and climate change.

In partnership with the Trafigura Foundation, Root Capital intervened by extending essential financial and agronomic training to 12 agricultural cooperatives in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, with the aim of boosting their resilience and credit-readiness. The programme targeted small cooperatives in the coffee, honey and cocoa sectors and benefitted 3,310 farmers and their families.

The training provided by Root Capital helped businesses develop stronger internal management capabilities and build resilience to external threats like climate change and volatile markets.

This hard-won resilience was sorely tested in 2020. Root Capital continued to support the 12 cooperatives throughout the new challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and received an additional grant by the Trafigura Foundation. Its investment in digital infrastructure and staff capacity paid off with a seamless shift from in-person to virtual training sessions.

The Business Management Advisory training, which has been designed to help the cooperative develop stronger financial management capabilities and data-driven decision-making, was quickly updated to incorporate COVID-19-related business contingencies. This update gave the cooperatives the necessary tools to adapt and have the best chance of surviving the pandemic.

(Photo Credit: © Sean Hawkey)

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