Members of the García family in the community of El Descombro, Camotán, Chiquimula pose with the Canadian Ambassador Hugues R. Rousseau and WFP Representative Guy Gauvreau.
The Canadian Ambassador in Guatemala, Hugues R. Rousseau, visited smallholder farmers participanting in the Purchases for Progress (P4P) project, which is supported by the Canadian Government and benefits 3,411 farmers and their 17,000 family members living in the so called Dry Corridor of the country.
The Canadian Ambassador met with two organizations: The Chortijol Cooperative in San Juan Ermita (Chiquimula) and the Association of Agricultural Producers in Laguna del Hoyo in Monjas (Jalapa). Canada also supports similar groups in the departments of El Progreso, Jutiapa and Zacapa.
“Canada is pleased to be part of this alliance with WFP to bring help to the families living in the Drought Corridor of Guatemala who have been affected over the last few years with the loss of their crops due to droughts and floods,” said the Canadian Ambassador. “Through this project, Canada aims to support smallholder farmers and their families financially and technically to improve their quality of life and the quantity of their crops to ensure good nutrition and increment their family income.”
“For us it is a priority to fight against malnutrition, particularly among children. This problem places their present and future situation in danger”, added Rousseau, whom was accompanied by Christina Laur, from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), as well as representatives from the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA), the Spanish International Cooperation and Development Agency (AECID), the WFP, local authorities and smallholder farmers.
The P4P initiative supports farmers with low income to facilitate their participation in the food production chain. With technical assistance and training from WFP and their partners, smallholder farmers increase their earnings, and they sell their surplus production, bringing more income to their home. The direct purchase of these products by WFP provides smallholder farmers with a market for their products. Likewise, these products are distributed amongst the populations suffering under nutrition in Guatemala, thus contributing to their nutritional security.
“Thanks to this project, these families have passed from subsistence agriculture to family production agriculture to incorporate themselves to the commercial market and achieve their autonomy. This is a great achievement in terms of sustainability,” underscored Guy Gauvreau, WFP Representative in Guatemala.
“The participation of women in this project has played a crucial role, demonstrating their capacity in the direction of organizations as an essential element for the development of the community because, as we know, there is no nutritional security without the empowering of women”, added the WFP Representative.
Additionally, WFP implements other P4P projects in the Southern Coast and the North Coast of the country, where more than 11,000 small farmers have sold 12,500 metric tons of corn and beans. This has been achieved thanks to IICA, FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food and the Food and Nutritional Security Secretariat.
Elizabeth is a Guatemalan national. She has been working for WFP since January 2006. Before that she worked for the International Federation of the Red Cross. A fluent speaker of Spanish, French and English, she is an expert in Information Management during Emergencies. Elizabeth is convinced that information can save lives at all times.