Fostering Sustainable Communities Through Agriculture

While Guatemala boasts the largest and fastest-growing economy in the region, this masks the extreme poverty and malnutrition that plagues indigenous communities in the rural parts of the country.

Because agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy, Counterpart’s USDA-funded Food for Progress program has focused on supporting the rebirth of the country’s National Rural Extension System to support rural farmers, the only such program in the country. 

Check out these videos that showcase our work in Guatemala: 

Improving Productivity and Market Access for Farmers

The Food for Progress program is working to improve productivity and expand market access for rural agricultural farmers in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. The program works to strengthen the capacity of Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, as well as community leaders benefiting from more than 47,000 coffee, vegetables, and minor species producers. Food for Progress helps rural farmers with obtaining supplies, equipment, and services for production, and agricultural trade to improve access to market opportunities.

Partnering for Agricultural Education

The Food for Progress program strengthens the methodological and technical capacities of extension agents from the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food, and private and public sectors. Counterpart, the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of San Carlos, and the University of California, Davis designed and implemented the Rural Extension Certificate Training Program, which has been incorporated into the curricula with academic credits under the rural development master’s degree at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala — the only one of its kind in the country. As a result, more than 700 extension agents have been incorporated into the National Rural Extension System, which serves more than 250,000 rural families.

More Than 40,000 Guatemalan Farmers Participate in Certification Program

Counterpart’s Food for Progress program, supported by USDA, developed training certifications to improve productivity and business capabilities for local producers and partners, which included the participation of 372 organizations and more than 40,000 producers in various trainings, such as organizational development, agriculture, coffee, and marketing and trade, within the framework of the National School Feeding Program. The farmers from Guatemala’s Western Highlands apply the skills and knowledge they learned to strengthen production and trade.

Grants Boost Productivity and Income for Guatemalan Farmers

Our Food for Progress program in supports strengthening the capacities of 372 organizations and more than 37,000 producers. The program has issued 120 grants, which allowed farmers to access agricultural inputs, equipment, and services with an approximate value of $3 million, responding to the needs and risks that were difficult for the producers to cover by themselves. These grants played an important role in improving technology, productivity, and trading, and generating new income sources for Guatemalan farmers.

Counterpart, MICOOPE Issue $48 Million in Loans to Guatemalan Producers

Counterpart partners with Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito (MICOOPE) to issue agricultural loans to producers in the Western Highlands of Guatemala in the USDA-funded Food for Progress program. MICOOPE provides four main services: agricultural loans, livestock loans, agricultural machinery and equipment loans, and the purchase of farms and establishment of loans for perennial products. More than 8,000 agricultural loans have been granted at a value of approximately $48 million in a period of four years, allowing Guatemalan producers to improve their productivity and access new markets.

Food for Progress Strengthens Production Capacities of Rural Guatemalan Producers

The Food for Progress program strengthens the production capacities of rural agricultural producers by improving their access to better marketing opportunities, as well as providing development and quality trainings that allow producers to increase quality and add value to products traded in market niches. More than 47,000 producers and 70 local organizations have been strengthened through the project. The participating organizations have moved forward in obtaining quality certificates, generating over 2,918 jobs.

Brewing Sustainability Through Coffee Production

Our program prioritizes sustainable economic development and resilient livelihoods with our partners in Guatemala. The National Coffee Association (ANACAFÉ) is one such partner that brings together coffee producers and cooperatives to provide training, opportunities to receive internationally recognized certifications, and grants to improve production, processing, business development, and market access. Our project served more than 2,515 coffee farmers in the department of Sololá and strengthened 68 organizations, including farmers groups, associations, and cooperatives.