Beneficial Returns backs Elisur Organic to help Peru’s coffee farmers diversify their crops

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, May 1 – The world’s coffee supply—and the farmers that grow it—is threatened by climate change. Some coffee specialists are trying to popularize widely shamed robusta coffee and other climate-resilient species. Startups like Atomo and Minus are recreating coffee in the lab.

Elisur Organic is focused on the farmers.

The women-led business is working to help Peru’s coffee farmers weather volatile growing seasons and prices by branching into other high-value crops, like tumeric and ginger. The company works with more than 80 farming families that produce 6,000 tons of produce each year. Elisur cleans and processes the crops and exports them to the US and Canada.

A loan from impact lender Beneficial Returns will upgrade the company’s processing equipment to capture additional value by drying and grinding low-grade crops into spices.

“This new line of business means more job creation in the factory, higher payments to the farmers, and bigger profit margins for Elisur,” the lender said.

Linked to impact

Farmers are “an audience that has been ignored for too long by the agro-export industry,” said Elisur’s Kristel Camargo. Elisur offers online training for its farmers, who earn three times Peru’s minimum wage, the company says. Beneficial Returns forgoes its final loan payment if its social enterprise borrowers hit or surpass impact targets.

Beneficial Returns has provided nearly $5 million in equipment financing loans to 19 social enterprises in Latin America and Asia.

The lender recently scored backing from its first Latin America-based investor, Oficina Mazapil—the family office of the founders of Grupo Bimbo, a global baked-goods corporation.