, the of the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the have announced a $7 million public-private partnership in support of Latin American coffee growers fighting to contain a devastating leaf rust epidemic.
The partnership will support social investment fund 's Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative, a collaborative effort designed to stabilize supply chains by investing in coffee farmers at the base of the value chain — the farmers most likely to be affected by the epidemic. The initiative combines long-term lending to finance the replacement of coffee trees affected by the fungal disease with short-term credit, management training, climate-smart agronomic assistance, and household-level income diversification. The $7 million in funding will enable Root Capital to lend more than $10 million for resilience investments and provide financial management training to fifty agricultural enterprises representing forty thousand farmers. With seed funding from the Skoll Foundation, Root Capital is launching the initiative with a $2 million loan to , a coffee farmer cooperative based in Jinotega, Nicaragua.
"This public-private partnership has big implications for agricultural sustainability," said Claudio Cortellese, who heads MIF's Access to Markets Unit. "It will improve the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Latin American coffee farmers while serving as a model for long-term resilience that other agricultural value chains can reproduce, from quinoa to cacao."
"Root Capital's Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative is a holistic approach that responds to the current crisis while investing in rural enterprises' ability to maintain consumer supply in the face of growing shocks from climate change and volatile commodity markets," said Root Capital founder and CEO Willy Foote. "The initiative is a blueprint for agricultural supply chain sustainability that creates shared value for farmers, buyers, and consumers."