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Improving Rural Livelihoods: A Study of Four Guatemalan Coffee Cooperatives

Root Capital is excited to release our first multi-site impact study — Improving Rural Livelihoods: A Study of Four Guatemalan Coffee Cooperatives. As a complement to our ongoing social and environmental due diligence, this comprehensive study provides a more detailed picture of the impacts that our client enterprises have on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and the environment. We also sought to answer the question: Does Root Capital’s financing and training enable our clients to increase their impacts, and if so, how and to what extent?

In this impact study, we synthesize and share findings from four individual studies, and explore:

  • How enterprises that reliably offer services — such as credit, training, technical assistance and the provision of inputs — to farmers can help them earn higher and more stable incomes.
  • How cooperatives are helping members adopt more sustainable agricultural practices, although overall use of soil, water, and biodiversity conservation practices remains limited.
  • How cooperatives are helping to level the playing field between households represented by female and male cooperative members.
  • How Root Capital’s lending has allowed cooperatives to strengthen their relationships with farmers and pay them earlier in the harvest season.

We also highlight areas for further research and implications for practitioners, including guidance on how to share findings and feedback with clients participating in such impact studies.

The research was conducted in collaboration with the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA). The four cooperatives that participated reflected the range of our Guatemalan coffee portfolio in terms of geography, ethnicity, length of relationship with Root Capital, and diversity of sustainability certifications and buyer relationships.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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