Root Capital is the most important organization in the coffee trade that most coffee drinkers have never heard of. The commercial finance it extends to coffee cooperatives in the “missing middle” of credit markets makes the trade work for smallholders; its innovations in financial advisory services, internal credit funds, clean technology and income diversification are […]
Did I write yesterday in rebooting the blog that I will focus ruthlessly on our work in Colombia and Ecuador? Yes. And does this first post address something not directly related to our work in the field there? Absolutely. Why? Because World Coffee Development might be the single most important thing the coffee sector does—or […]
During last year’s SCAA Symposium, Liam Brody of Root Capital urged participants to be “pathologically collaborative” in addressing the ills that continue to ail specialty coffee. Peter Giuliano suggested soon afterward that Liam had “blown up the Twitterverse” with the memorable call to cooperation. But the full echo of that call may only be sounding […]
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Root Capital was established in 1999 to serve the grassroots enterprises that occupy the “missing middle” of financial markets in less-developed countries: they are too big for microfinance organizations and perceived as too small and risky by commercial banks. The organization’s success suggests that the scope of the need and opportunity in the missing middle […]
Today, a roll call of recent developments at origin worthy of note: industry efforts to increase and better measure impact.
As usual, this year’s SCAA was a blur, with great coffee from the country’s best roasters and baristas fueling long days and late nights punctuated by lots of thought-provoking discussions. It always takes me a few weeks to really digest all the discussions from SCAA and understand their implications for my work here in the […]
Today, the CAFE Livelihoods project that I have been working on in one capacity or another since late 2007 draws to a close. As we prepare the final project report in the coming weeks, I will share some of the more notable project outcomes here. Meantime, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the […]
Yesterday I provided a detailed summary of a recent study on the economic impacts of Fair Trade and organic certifications. Today, what it means to me in my work.
As we move into full harvest season here in Central America, prices are at record highs, putting pressure on cooperatives, importers and roasters. One importer friend offered this blunt assessment: “It is going to be ugly.”
Over the the past few months, I have found myself talking with a broad range of stakeholders in the specialty coffee industry about how coffee companies are investing at origin. Here are some reflections on what I am hearing in those discussions and seeing in the field, and some ideas about the directions in which industry engagement in the coffeelands may be moving.