Who

Farmers, Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural extension agents, and community leaders.

What

We are working with farming communities and Guatemala’s government to increase agricultural productivity, expand market access, and address food security challenges.

Where

35 municipalities across the departments of Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, and Quiché

How

We are training farming cooperatives to improve agricultural productivity, enhancing the skills and technical knowledge of agricultural extension agents, and strengthening the capacity of Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food to expand agricultural production and trade.

Challenge

Twenty-five years ago, ongoing civil war caused poverty to spread across Guatemala.  Men migrated to find work, leaving women behind without the skills needed to maintain their family farms.  At the same time, the government suspended its National Rural Extension System, the country’s only program for teaching farming techniques and nutrition to rural communities.  The combined impact was devastating:  hunger worsened and childhood malnutrition soared, reaching 42 percent countrywide and 90 percent in some indigenous communities.

Promise

Counterpart’s Food for Progress program in Guatemala improves the ability of local communities to increase their agricultural production and improve their livelihoods. By delivering farming knowledge and tools into the country’s most neglected communities, to help build markets for rural agriculture, we helped deliver a permanent, scalable solution to improve livelihoods. The program:

  • re-established a functioning National Rural Extension System and train Ministry of Agriculture Extension Agents, community promoters and community members on various agricultural techniques;
  • built the capacity of cooperatives and Rural Development Learning Centers (CADERs);
  • expanded financial services for agriculture cooperatives through Counterpart’s grantee, MICOOPE.

Impact

  • 213 extension agents have graduated from the Certificate Rural Extension Program, and now certified to work for the Ministry of Agriculture. They are the first to graduate since the closing of the extension system and university programs in 1990.
  • Nine Rural Development Learning Centers (CADERS) are now operating as a meeting and training center for rural farmers.
  • The nine CADERS are providing training in best practices in soil conservation, water management, horticulture production, food security and nutrition for the community and agricultural promoters.
  • 82 financial trainings for 29 financial agents have been provided by local credit union MICOOPE.
  • Loans to 2,743 women and 2,398 men, totaling more than $9 million will be tracked to evaluate the percent of increase in farmers’ incomes.
  • 226 organizational development trainings to farmers and 124 farming cooperatives have been given to strengthen farmer’s cooperatives.
  • Two export companies have been identified to purchase products form farmer groups.

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Partners

Funders: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Collaborators: Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture; School of Agriculture of University of San Carlos; Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School; University of California at Davis.

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