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Sparking a Data Revolution in the Peruvian Andes

Posted by Zehra Ijaz  |  Jan 24, 2017 6:00:00 AM

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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?

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Topics: South America, Root Capital, Advisory Services, Mobile ICT

Making Agriculture Work for the Farmers of the Future

Posted by Alexandra Tuinstra  |  Jan 17, 2017 12:24:15 PM

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Noe Portillo of CAPUCAS, explaining how his cooperative is supporting farmers in diversifying into other crops like tomatoes. 

“If we don’t have coffee… well, we just have to look for another alternative.” In just a few words, CAPUCAS agronomist Noe Portillo perfectly sums up the practical and bold leadership that’s needed in coffee today.

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Topics: Central America, Leadership, Youth

Something Bigger Than Myself

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Dec 18, 2016 2:27:00 PM

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Coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo: these high-quality and award-winning beans have been colorfully described as having “a very easy-to-like personality and unthreatening complexity.” But aside from the country’s coffee, so much in the DRC is, in fact, threatening — and at the same time complex.

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Topics: East Africa, Peace & Recovery, Leadership, Impact Assessment, Risk Management

The Efficient Impact Frontier: New Tools to Allocate Capital for Impact

Posted by Mike McCreless  |  Dec 6, 2016 9:24:19 AM

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Root Capital, like many impact investors, operates in the gray area between traditional philanthropy and mainstream commercial markets. As a mission-focused lender, the organization serves the financial needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises—a Fair trade coffee cooperative in Uganda or an association of women quinoa producers in Bolivia, for example.

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Topics: Impact Assessment, Risk Management

Laying the First Stones towards Gender Equity

Posted by Asya Troychansky  |  Nov 16, 2016 9:31:00 AM

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Women carry stones that will form the foundation of a new sorghum collection and storage center. 

As part of my role with Root Capital, I’m privileged to travel to remote areas in Africa and Latin America to meet with our clients and the smallholder farmers at the core of their business. Recently, I was in Meru, Kenya, with my colleague Erick Sakwa, Root Capital’s Women in Agriculture coordinator for East Africa.

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Topics: East Africa, Women in Agriculture

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

Posted by Will McAneny  |  Oct 12, 2016 11:20:04 AM

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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.

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Topics: Women in Agriculture, South America