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"We Cannot Succeed When Half of Us Are Held Back"

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Mar 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM

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With ANS Milling General Manager Kate Achaa, fourth from right, during a recent trip to Ghana with Root Capital colleagues and friends from PFS

“I raise up my voice,” she said, speaking matter-of-factly into the microphone during her first speech at the United Nations back in 2013, “not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard... We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

She, of course, is Malala. A 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, to be exact.

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Topics: Feeding a Hungry Planet, Unlocking Opportunities for Women, West Africa, Stories of Impact

How Extension Services Drive Business Success

Posted by Elizabeth Teague  |  Mar 10, 2016 1:37:36 PM

In December, we published an issue brief focused on the potential of small-and-growing businesses to create shared value for entire supply chains through their agricultural extension services. When delivered effectively, extension services can serve public objectives related to improved farmer livelihoods and environmental conservation, as well as commercial objectives related to procurement and supply chain risk mitigation.

In this post, we discuss one example of successful shared value extension from our portfolio.

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Agriaccess General Manager Tony Poore speaking to one of the Agriaccess farmer groups about an upcoming input delivery

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Topics: Feeding a Hungry Planet, West Africa, Progressive Partnerships, Strengthening Businesses

The Mango Farmer Who Changed Everything

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Oct 29, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Mango farmer, Burkina Faso

A few years ago, a mango farmer in Burkina Faso told us something that forever changed the way we interact with our clients and the farmers they serve.

“I don’t want to answer any questions,” the farmer said as one of our impact surveyors approached him. “Here you come to ask us the same silly questions that you go sell to aid sponsors…. You’ll ask me my name, my family size, the kinds of goods I have, and so on, and so on.… Go take the answers from the [other organizations’ surveys] we provided last year.”

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Topics: West Africa, Strengthening Businesses

In the West African Sahel, Women Stand Like Giants

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Jul 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM

The baobab trees of West Africa, gigantic in size and majestic in stature, are providers: They store water and food for animals in times of drought; they provide homes for birds (owls, parakeets and hawks) throughout the year; and, for many local families, the mighty baobab produces fruit, seeds and leaves that provide a critical source of income.

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Just starting a Root Capital due diligence trip in northern Senegal, beside the mighty baobab tree.

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Topics: Feeding a Hungry Planet, Unlocking Opportunities for Women, West Africa

Asuom, Ghana: Where Sustainable Palm Oil is Not an Oxymoron

Posted by Lauren Baum  |  May 7, 2015 11:39:00 AM

Serendipalm

Serendipalm employees in Asuom, Ghana. Photo credit: Dr. Bronner's

One hundred miles northwest of Accra, Ghana, sits Asuom, a village of surprising and beautiful contrasts and contradictions.

The vermilion clay earth and rust-tin roofs in Asuom pop in contrast to the verdant greens of forests nearby. But it’s within these forests that an even more unexpected paradox exists: large, splayed trees producing sustainable palm oil. Four thousand acres of trees are cultivated by the 670 farmer members of Root Capital client Serendipalm – the world’s first, and largest, fair trade and organic certified palm oil company.

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Topics: Unlocking Opportunities for Women, Preserving the Planet, West Africa, Stories of Impact, Increasing Incomes

Four Observations from Ghana’s Back Roads

Posted by Katherine Borsecnik  |  Mar 27, 2014 9:43:00 AM

Katherine Borsecnik at Kuapa Kokoo

As a board director and a donor, I’m in a good spot to closely track Root Capital’s progress, which also gives me regular opportunities to reevaluate the wisdom of my own investments of time and money.  While most of my work with Root Capital is done an arm’s length from the impact, I recently had my third opportunity to visit Root Capital clients, this time in Ghana with fellow board members, Root Capital staff, and my 17-year-old daughter.

Here’s some of what I observed:

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Topics: West Africa, Increasing Incomes, Our Community