Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the InterAmerican Development Bank and Skoll Foundation announce today support for the non-profit agricultural lender Root Capital’s Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative. The initiative is a collaborative venture designed to stabilize supply chains by investing in coffee farmers at the base of the value chain, who are on the front lines of battling the leaf rust epidemic in Latin America.
Coffee rust is a fungus that weakens and eventually kills coffee trees. Warmer, wetter weather, historic underinvestment in agriculture, and aging trees are the principal causes of the current epidemic. Photo: Root Capital
“We depend on a long-term supply of high-quality beans for our business,” said Lindsey Bolger, Vice President of Coffee Sourcing Excellence for GMCR. “This investment will provide coffee farming families with the tools and capacity they need to more successfully confront threats to their coffee and their livelihoods, through greater long-term resilience at the cooperative and household level.”
The announcement was made before hundreds of coffee industry professionals at Let’s Talk Roya, a solutions-oriented conference hosted by Sustainable Harvest, a private sector partner helping to implement the initiative.
The largest-ever partnership between the organizations combines long-term lending to finance the replacement of diseased coffee trees affected by the fungal disease with short-term trade credit, financial management training, climate-smart agronomic assistance and household-level income diversification. The $7 million initiative will allow Root Capital to lend more than $10 million for resilience investments, and provide financial management training, to 50 agricultural enterprises representing 40,000 farmers, reaching approximately 200,000 family members in farming communities in Latin America.