Fighting Malnutrition with Biofortified Corn in Guatemala

Semilla Nueva

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One Day’s Wages is partnering with Semilla Nueva to fight chronic malnutrition through the production and sale of biofortified corn in Guatemala.


Why Guatemala?

Malnutrition is a critical issue because it impacts all areas of life: it causes sickness and disease, leads to less school attendance, lower future incomes, and overall economic instability. Malnutrition keeps children from reaching their full potential. In Guatemala in particular, 47% of all children are chronically malnourished due to years of poor nutrition, causing stunted growth and brain development.


Why Biofortified Corn?

It’s really difficult to get people to eat new foods, and in Guatemala, corn makes up half of the average diet. Corn has been eaten for thousands of years and is the cheapest and easiest food to grow. Instead of trying to change culture, we want to embrace it by making what families already eat more nutritious.

Semilla Nueva produces and sells non-GMO corn seeds that have 2.5 times the quality protein and 50% more zinc than conventional corn, addressing key nutritional deficiencies in Guatemala. But most importantly, these seeds help farmers earn more by producing larger harvests at lower costs, which is the driving reason for why farmers buy and favor these seeds.


ODW + Semilla Nueva

One Day’s Wages is partnering with Semilla Nueva to expand their biofortified seed production and sales to reach more families throughout Guatemala with more nutritious corn. Semilla Nueva launched their first sales at the beginning of 2018 and nearly 2,000 families planted this seed, reaching up to 97,400 people with better corn and improving their daily nutrition. But by 2019, our partnership aims to triple their impact, improving the nutrition of up to 276,000 people. To get there, we need the tools to produce and sell even more bags of their seed that farmers want—improving incomes and daily diets. And over the next five years, the goal is to reach one million people with better, more nutritious corn.


Join Us

Join us in fighting malnutrition and changing the diets of up to 276,000 people in Guatemala in the next year. The progress bar above includes our intended match amount of $25,000 for a granting total of $50,000.

Meet Doña Gloria

Doña Gloria is a female farmer who is making it in a man’s world. She’s a single mother who went from working as a seamstress to farming corn in order to better provide for her 7 children and began to plant biofortified corn seed in 2017 and continues to do so now. But she says she doesn’t plant this corn because it has 2.5 times the quality protein and 50% more zinc than conventional corn. She doesn’t plant it because, as she notes, “the tortillas are more delicious.” She doesn’t plant it because it can curb malnutrition in the long-run.

She plants them because she needs to provide for her family, and this corn makes her more money. It’s cheaper to buy and it produces more than similar tier seeds. As a woman working in a male dominated industry, she has to make tough decisions. “This is my livelihood. I’m remarried now, but in my relationship, I hold the purse strings. I make economic decisions for my family. I wouldn’t switch over seeds on a whim. This is an excellent product, and it’s a nice added benefit that it is more nutritious.”

This is how Semilla Nueva sustainably fights malnutrition: by working with culture, not against it.

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