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Helping Guatemala Cultivate a Better Future

By U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome.

Read the full post on the U.S. Department of State DipNote blog

What makes Quatro Pinos so succesful? I think the key ingredient is its core group of proud, dynamic, hard-working, and determined women coupled with some strategic assistance from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in the form of access to loans, markets, business training, and cooperation from the private sector—in this case AGEXPORT, the Guatemalan exporters’ association. 

Two other projects we visited in Guatemala that day provide similar support to local communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress program in Chimaltenango is supporting 3,291 local farmers with technology (greenhouses, combined irrigationand fertilizer systems, cold storage, and collecting centers), training in farming techniques such as composting, and help in the commercialization of their products. We watched them plant organic gardens, saw where they processed their produce and made jams, and visited a flower workshop where women were shown how to give added value to the flowers they grow by packaging them in appealing ways. 

The USDA project has benefited from the service of experts from the Borlaug Institute, part of the Texas A&M University system, and funds from USAID. It will be turned over to a local organization, SENDEC, at the end of the year. 

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