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Guatemala

Guatemala has tremendous potential for expanding its agricultural production, which would lead to rural economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation. Guatemala is recognized as a leader in non-traditional agricultural exports in Central America, such as snow peas, green beans, baby/mini-vegetables and fruits, whose production has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, benefitting smallholder farmers.

  • 74.7 THOUSAND
    Producers using improved technologies and practices with Feed the Future’s help in FY16
  • $24 MILLION
    New income earned by Feed the Future farmers in FY 2016 from agricultural sales
  • 230 THOUSAND
    Children under 5 reached with nutrition help in FY16
  • $7.4 MILLION
    New private investment leveraged by Feed the Future in FY16

Impact

  • 15 PERCENT
    Reduction in the prevalence of poverty in the areas where Feed the Future has worked
  • 12 PERCENT
    Reduction in the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 years old in the areas where Feed the Future has worked 

Key Achievements

Feed the Future provided more than 25,000 families with improved local black bean seeds. Over the years, local black bean varieties had become less vigorous and healthy due to poor seed saving techniques. The new, improved varieties have shown as much as a five-fold yield increase and have created a lot of excitement among farmers. Feed the Future’s MasFrijol project works with partners to distribute the seeds and provide training on health and nutrition. Best of all, the farmers don’t just grow these seeds in order to sell the beans as a cash crop. The beans are also used as an integral part of the local diet, providing a great boost to protein intake.

Coffee farmers have faced huge losses in production since the outbreak of the coffee rust fungus between 2012 and 2013. Feed the Future responded by providing access to new seedlings of rust resistant varieties and supporting workers with proper pesticide training to mitigate coffee rust fungus. Feed the Future helped Guatemala implement an early warning system for pests and disease for horticulture. The system includes a network of six weather stations in the Western Highlands that are connected and share software whereby operators can continuously monitor conditions and detect changes favorable to pest and disease outbreaks. The Center for Analysis and Technical Assistance at the Federation of Agriculture Cooperatives (FEDECOAG) provides risk analysis data to farmer organizations so that they can take early precautions to avoid major crop losses.

In addition to improved pest control, Feed the Future programs have increased farmers’ adoption of new technologies to increase productivity and improve the quality of their products, which resulted in a nearly 30 percent increase in horticulture sales from 2014 to 2015. Through Feed the Future, USAID and U.S. Department of Agriculture trained thousands of smallholder farmers on how to properly use pesticides and grow popular export crops, such as snow peas and French beans. Through these trainings, the average number of pesticide applications per farmer per season has been reduced by as many as four applications—a savings to the farmers and a reprieve to watersheds.

Feed the Future has also promoted traceability technology to monitor agrochemical applications, record harvest dates, and crop production location so as to better comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act. As a result, detention of agricultural goods from Guatemala to the United States dropped from 1,896 containers in 2013 to under 100 in 2016.

Source

These results reflect information from USAID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Peace Corps, reported into Feed the Future’s central monitoring system for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). For more information on the indicators above, please view our Feed the Future Indicator Handbook. All dollar amounts are listed in U.S. dollars.

Strategy

  • Strengthen market-led agricultural development
  • Prevent and treat chronic malnutrition
  • Improve access to food and health services
  • Improve nutritional status, especially of women and children

Zones of Influence in Guatemala

Map of Guatemala
  • Totonicapán
  • San Marcos
  • Huehuetenango
  • Quetzaltenango
  • Quiché

Background Stats

  • 16.6 MILLION
    Population of Guatemala (World Bank, 2016)
  • 3.1 PERCENT
    Annual GDP growth; agriculture accounts for 10.7% of added value (World Bank, 2016)
  • 44.7 PERCENT
    Percentage of population living in rural Guatemala (World Bank, 2016)
  • 59.3 PERCENT
    Percentage of population living under the national poverty line (World Bank, 2014)

Value Chains

  • Coffee
  • Horticulture
  • Handicrafts
Woman with tomatoes grown in a greenhouse in Guatemala.

Approach

Food security is a pressing concern in Guatemala, especially when it comes to children. Half of all children under 5 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 these target regions where chronic malnutrition among young children is over 67 percent. Guatemala faces high levels of chronic malnutrition for many reason, 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.

Despite these challenges, Guatemala has tremendous potential for expanding its agricultural production, which would lead to rural economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation. Guatemala is recognized as a leader in non-traditional agricultural exports in Central America, such as snow peas, green beans, baby/mini-vegetables and fruits, whose production has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, benefitting smallholder farmers.

Support for horticulture and coffee production by smallholder farmers is an essential starting point for alleviating poverty in Guatemala, as the earnings from these activities stimulate growth and job creation in the entire economy. Understanding that increased incomes do not always translate into improved nutrition, Feed the Future implements behavior change communication activities to promote feeding and hygiene practices that improve child health.

Activities

Feed the Future supports the following programs, partnerships and organizations in Guatemala.

  • Central America Agribusiness and Logistics Regional Program
  • Coffee Rust Support
  • Demographic and Health Survey (ENSMI) INCAP
  • Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Grain Legumes (MasFrijol)
  • Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture (MasRiego and Semillas de Esperanza)
  • Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management
  • Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation
  • Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III (FANTA)
  • Food for Peace Programs: Food Security Focused on the First Thousand Days (SEGAMIL) and Western Highlands Program of Integrated Actions for Food Security and Nutrition (PAISANO)
  • Food Security and Policy Effectiveness Sustainable Agriculture Regional Program
  • Health Communication Capacity Collaborative
  • Health and Education Policy Project (HEP+)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute research grant
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) maize-based farming systems (BuenaMilpa)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Program
  • National Alliance Partnership Program
  • Nexos Locales Local Governance Project
  • Peace Corps
  • Quality Improvement in Health
  • Regional Trade and Market Alliances Enabling Agricultural Trade Regional Program
  • Rural Value Chains Project (AGEXPORT and Anacafe)
  • Social Investment Fund
  • Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) Project
  • Taking an Innovative Cooperative Approach to Food Security (MasProteina)
  • USAID Deliver Project (DELIVER II)
  • 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

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