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Unlocking Opportunity for Those Who Need It Most

Posted by Kristin Williams  |  Jan 10, 2018 12:03:27 PM

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Two billion. That’s the number of people in rural communities who are struggling to survive on less than $2 per day.

Many of them are farming to feed the rest of the world, yet they aren’t getting enough to eat. Many live hundreds of miles from accessible markets, without the roads to reach them. With few choices, they’re forced to sell their hard-earned crops at rock-bottom prices.

But there’s a way out of this cycle of grinding poverty.

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Maya Ixil member Don Roberto Belarmino Villatoro shows his nursery to vice president Sebastian Castro and technician Miguel Ostuma.

When farmers join an agricultural business, their incomes rise. They’re linked to bigger and better markets. And as the business grows, it can pay higher prices and offer benefits—such as seeds and credit— that help the farmers thrive.

In the world’s most economically vulnerable regions, Root Capital sees potential. We build up vital agricultural businesses with financing and training. The result? Higher, more stable incomes—and expanded opportunities for those most in need.

Maya Ixil 3.jpgMaya Ixil women attend a meeting in Nebaj, Guatemala.

In few places is this need greater than the Maya Ixil region of Guatemala. For decades, the indigenous population was the target of state sponsored violence, which forced them into deeper poverty and starvation. To provide stable incomes for the region’s coffee farmers, 28 community members formed Cooperative Maya Ixil in 1998, and obtained their first loan of $50,000 from Root Capital in 2005. During the next ten years, we accompanied the cooperative as it grew to 175 farmers and more than $2.5 million in financing.

This partnership enabled members to double their income. “Now we can sell coffee at a higher price,” says member Susana Rodríguez Pérez. “For my family, this has allowed us to study, to put nutritious food on the table, and buy more land.”

Since our founding, Root Capital has loaned $1.1 billion to more than 650 businesses like Maya Ixil—unlocking opportunity for 5.7 million people in rural communities.

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Silvia Villatoro Terraza pushes parchment coffee into a container.

We help businesses deliver higher, on time payments. This means farm families have a secure income stream that sees them through the growing season. And they can make long-term investments to improve their quality of life—like repairing homes, paying school fees, and buying wholesome foods. 

We equip employees with the skills to transform their business and community. Our extensive trainings are tailored to the needs of our clients. For some, we share agronomic knowledge that increases crop yields, leading to more lucrative harvests. For others, we strengthen financial management capacity to help businesses loan money to members seeking to purchase new equipment, renovate their farms, or build income through a side business.

Maya Ixil 4.jpgMaya Ixil employees in the cooperative's warehouse.

By joining Root Capital, you fortify agricultural businesses that are fundamental to improving rural livelihoods. With your support, we can break the cycle of poverty for millions around the world.


Expand opportunities for those most in need. Make a donation today.

Photos © Sean Hawkey

Topics: Mexico and Central America, Stories of Impact, Increasing Incomes