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How Rural Businesses Can Help Smallholder Famers, Entire Supply Chains Adapt to Climate Change

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 8, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On the heels of the United Nation's COP21 conference on climate change, the agricultural impact investor Root Capital has released a new issue brief, Investing in Resilience: A Shared Value Approach to Agricultural Extension, that details the role that rural businesses can play in helping smallholder producers adapt to a changing climate.

Agricultural extension services provide farmers with the knowledge and tools to improve their agricultural practices and productivity. They contribute to more stable and prosperous farmer livelihoods, help to mitigate climate change, and advance commercial objectives for more reliable procurement. In short, they can create shared value for entire supply chains.

In reaction to the report, Mark Kramer, founder and managing director of FSG and senior fellow of the CSR Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said, "No issue exemplifies the urgency and power of creating shared value better than the productivity and prosperity of smallholder farmers.

"The core idea of shared value, after all, is that we cannot solve problems such as poverty, food insecurity, and climate change without fully engaging corporations, and that corporations cannot continue to prosper unless they successfully address these issues."

As the report explores, agricultural enterprises such as farmer cooperatives and processors represent a significant, but often overlooked, channel for delivering last-mile agricultural extension – that is, services that provide hundreds or often thousands of disbursed farmers with the information and skills they need to improve their farming practices.

"As on-the-ground practitioners serving the needs of agricultural businesses, we see firsthand the impact that climate change has on livelihoods and on food security in rural communities," said Root Capital Founder & CEO Willy Foote. "We know that our clients, the small and growing agricultural business we finance and train, and the farmers on whom they depend, will continue to be disproportionately affected by climate change, as higher temperatures and increasingly unpredictable weather events reduce yields, jeopardize quality, and increase pest and disease outbreaks."

"Root Capital describes how these businesses can help promote the adoption of climate-smart practices at the farm level, particularly in developing economies where public extension services are underfunded or non-existent," said Mark Lundy, agroenterprise development specialist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

Download the report to learn more about how investing in farmer resilience can create shared value for entire supply chains, from farm to fork.

About Root Capital

Root Capital is an agricultural impact investor that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by providing capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Since 1999, Root Capital has disbursed more than $800 million in credit to over 550 businesses, representing 1.2 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital's clients produce dozens of different agricultural products, from coffee, cocoa, and cashews, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to wild-harvested products like natural gums and shea butter. For specific client examples, see: http://www.rootcapital.org/portfolio

CONTACT: Liam Brody, Senior Vice President Root Capital lbrody@rootcapital.org +1 617-888-9125Source:Root Capital