Thirty percent of Guatemala’s economically active population works in the agriculture sector. Guatemala has tremendous potential for expanding its agricultural production, which promises job creation and stable incomes. This would address the primary driver of migration, as reported by returned Guatemalan migrants, as well as poverty and poor nutrition. Guatemala is a leader in non-traditional agricultural exports in Central America, such as snow peas, green beans, and mini-vegetables. The production of these exports has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, benefitting smallholder farmers.
Guatemala’s coffee farmers have faced huge losses in production since the outbreak of coffee rust in 2012 and 2013. Feed the Future responded by providing farmers with access to new seedlings of rust resistant varieties and by providing workers with training on how to properly apply pesticides to mitigate the fungus. Farmers also received advice and training on agricultural practices for crop management, post-harvest handling, and integrated pest management. By applying these practices, coffee farmers increased both the sales and quality of their coffee beans. Average coffee yields increased by 4 percent to over 27,000 pounds of coffee per hectare during the 2018 harvest compared to the previous year. Feed the Future’s support also helped to create over 7,000 jobs in the coffee industry.
Feed the Future also helped farmers diversify their income sources and promoted community savings groups, supporting over 1,000 farmers in such groups. Forty of these groups established business connections, primarily with Fair Fruit, a social agri-food enterprise that works with Guatemalan farmers. These savings and loan groups saved over $125,000 and disbursed loans worth over $100,000.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trained farmers, packers and exporters on compliance with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act. In 2018, USDA also trained over 200 agriculture producers on integrated pest management and other good agriculture practices to enable smallholder farmers to better control pests in their crops. With Feed the Future’s support, FARMFORCE traceability software sold subscriptions to an additional five horticulture and coffee exporters sourcing from nearly 4,000 farmers, enabling these smallholders to retain access to export markets.
Feed the Future reached more than 22,000 families in 2018 with improved bean seed and training on improved agricultural practices, the importance of dietary diversity, protein consumption, and behavior change, with a focus on children and mothers.
These results reflect information from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Peace Corps, reported into Feed the Future’s central monitoring system for fiscal year 2018 (FY18). For more information on the indicators above, please view our Feed the Future Indicator Handbook. All dollar amounts are listed in U.S. dollars.
*The change in prevalence of poverty or stunting for this country was not statistically significant, meaning the margin of error of the survey sample was too great to conclusively demonstrate change. For more details on impact data, view the Feed the Future 2018 progress snapshot.
- Strengthen market-led agricultural development
- Prevent and treat chronic malnutrition
- Improve access to food and health services
- Boost nutrition, especially among women and children
Zones of Influence in Guatemala
- San Marcos
Food security is a pressing concern in Guatemala, especially when it comes to children. Half of all children under 5 years old in this Central American country are chronically malnourished—the worst level of malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere. The statistics are even more alarming in the Western Highlands of the country, where the majority of the population is indigenous. Feed the Future focuses its efforts in this target region, where chronic malnutrition among young children is over 62 percent. Guatemala faces high levels of chronic malnutrition for many reasons, including the lack of economic resources and knowledge to buy and consume foods that meet nutritional needs. Families also lack access to adequate healthcare and sanitation services.
Supporting smallholder farmers who work in horticulture and coffee production is an essential starting point for alleviating poverty in Guatemala, as the earnings from these commodities stimulate growth and job creation for the entire economy. Understanding that increased incomes do not always translate into improved nutrition, Feed the Future also implements programs aimed at promoting feeding and hygiene practices that improve child health. In alignment with the Government of Guatemala’s objectives, Feed the Future programs also enhance agricultural productivity while integrating resilience and nutrition-sensitive agriculture projects.
Feed the Future supports the following programs, partnerships and organizations in Guatemala.
- Central America Agribusiness and Logistics Regional Program
- Demographic and Health Survey (ENSMI) INCAP
- Feed the Future Guatemala Coffee Value Chains Project
- Feed the Future Innovative Solutions for Agricultural Value Chains Project
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Grain Legumes (MasFrijol)
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture (MasRiego and Semillas de Esperanza)
- Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation
- Health and Education Policy Project (HEP+)
- International Food Policy Research Institute research grant
- International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT, BuenaMilpa)
- Nexos Locales Local Governance Project
- Peace Corps
- Rural Value Chains Project (AGEXPORT and Anacafe)
- Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) Project
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- USDA McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program
- USDA Support for Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Other Agriculture-Related Capacity Building to Promote Food Security and Trade Integration