Sustainable Farming that Feeds Families
Over 2.5 billion of the developing world’s 5.5 billion people work in agriculture, mostly in rural areas. Rural farmers in developing countries are among the most socially vulnerable people. Many farmers, while they do provide the local and global economy with some great food, do not earn enough income for a sustainable livelihood. The farmers are not very likely to be organized into trade unions and don’t have access to effective forms of social security and protection. As a result, many of them are employed under poor health, safety and environmental conditions. Our current agriculture system is also not very kind to the environment as, for example, more than 25 million acres of tropical forests worldwide are destroyed annually. Fair Trade investments support sustainable farming – for the farmer and the environment.
Your investment can help us change these statistics. You can help rural enterprises throughout the developing world to provide meaningful employment and social services to disadvantaged groups, dramatically improve household incomes, and offer alternatives to short-term survival tactics that destroy the environment. The Fair Trade investments on MicroPlace offer loans to co-ops to help individual farmers manage their cash flow. Many farmers only get paid once they sell their product and have to float all the expenses for the entire year. A Fair Trade investment enables co-ops to loan these farmers money to manage this cash flow problem.
How do the investments work?
Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that is pioneering finance for grassroots businesses in rural areas of developing countries, such as farmer and artisan associations, transforming rural communities and conserving natural resources in the world’s poorest, most environmentally threatened places. For the investments offered on MicroPlace, Root Capital works as a sub-advisor to the Calvert Foundation and conducts due diligence, site visits, and closely monitors all investments. Root Capital also invests its own capital in these cooperatives as well as several others, successfully reaching this often-forgotten “missing middle.”
Jane Khainza is a member of Gumutindo’s Peace Kawomera Cooperative, based in Mount Elgon – in the Mbale district of Uganda. Gumutindo, which means “excellent quality” in the local Lugisu language, began in 1998, and is financed by Calvert Foundation partner Root Capital. Jane tends to her family’s coffee trees while her husband serves as Gumutindo’s treasurer. They now own additional land and support 13 children with their coffee income.
© Photo courtesy of Root Capital