More on Guatemala

What are the current issues in Guatemala

In Guatemala, the face of poverty and hunger is young, indigenous and rural. Guatemala, with the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean, faces a serious challenge to reduce chronic undernutrition, currently at 49.8% among children under 5.

Guatemala has a population of 14.7 million and ranks 133 out of 187 in the 2012 United Nations Human Development Index. The Gross National Income per capita is US$2,740. With a Gini index of 53.7, Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in the world.

The chronic undernutrition rate for children under 5 is 49.8 percent, the highest in the region and the fourth highest in the world. Guatemala is one of the 36 countries which account for 90 percent of stunting in the world. Chronic undernutrition in indigenous areas is 69.5 percent. Fifty-three percent of the population lives in poverty, and 13 percent in extreme poverty.

  • Vulnerable groups

The most vulnerable groups are indigenous women, girls and boys living in the highlands and the “dry corridor” (a semi-arid zone with periods of droughts, degraded soils and low agricultural yields). Illiteracy is 31.1 percent in women 15 years of age and older and reaches 59 percent among indigenous women.

Guatemala faces an economic and food insecurity crisis, further exacerbated by extended drought. The global economic crisis has reduced remittances, exports, foreign investment, tourism revenues, and access to credit, thereby increasing the Government's budget deficit and unemployment. The rise in the price of agricultural inputs has reduced the availability of subsidized fertilizers and high quality seeds, negatively affecting subsistence farmers.

The combination of these crises restricts access to food for already impoverished and food-insecure families. In addition, Guatemala is prone to recurrent disasters. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, landslides and droughts damage the livelihoods of unprepared populations living in vulnerable areas.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Guatemala

WFP’s activities in Guatemala are geared towards reducing food insecurity, improving the nutritional status of mothers and children under 5 and living conditions of vulnerable groups by increasing agricultural productivity and farmer’s marketing practices. These priorities, which aim to assist the most vulnerable portions of the population, were identified in close coordination with the Government of Guatemala.

  • Country Programme

In order to reduce chronic undernutrition 45,500 beneficiaries will receive supplementary feeding and 12,000 subsistence farmers will be assisted to improve livelihoods starting 2011. The Country Programme will connect 3,000 small farmers to the markets.

  • Purchase for Progress

Targets 3,700 members of 36 small farmers’ organizations, aiming to build links between farmers and markets and encourage group marketing. Grain quantity and quality are improved through best practices and post harvest management. Training modules emphasizes marketing and management skills, strengthening of farmers’ organizations, and women’s participation in decision-making positions.

Featured Guatemala publications

  • Guatemala: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 323 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Guatemala? Visit the Guatemala publications archive.