Project #99 | Agricultural Empowerment in Guatemala

Our partnership with Semilla Nueva

This partnership supported and expanded Semilla Nueva’s programs to teach farmers to grow higher nutrient versions of staple crops in the southern Pacific coast of Guatemala. This program fosters community engagement with farmers coming together and learning different techniques to improve their crop production, utilizing biofortified seeds for more nutritional diets to promote better health outcomes. There are two parts to this project:

Improving income through rice: This part of the project aimed to teach farmers a new way to utilize land that would otherwise be lost to flooding and provide access to zinc – an essential micronutrient lacking in the Guatemalan diet. It also improved incomes and food security as rice is an economic opportunity for farmers who grow sesame.

Improving nutrition through Quality Protein Maize: this project also enabled local leaders to promote Quality Protein Maize (QPM) as corn that provides families with more energy and better nutrition, increasing the number of families who plant and consume the crop on a daily basis. Working with 1,000+ families, Semilla Nueva taught them how to save and store the QPM seed they harvest, ensuring their food supply for an entire year, with additional seed saved to plant for the following season.

Our collective impact

Farming Families Educated

Sustainable Food Sources Created

People Impacted

Meet Jacobo

Jacobo, a small-scale farmer and father of six, has become a champion for high-zinc, short duration rice in his village. Jacobo started working with Semilla Nueva in 2010, and after four years trying different agricultural technologies, was elected by his Community Agriculture Group to represent them as a Community Coordinator in 2015. Jacobo attends regular meetings with the 24 other coordinators from other Semilla Nueva communities along the southern coast, and then holds trainings for farmers in communities on topics in rural agriculture. This August he held training with neighbor farmers on growing, harvesting, processing, and cleaning high-zinc, short duration rice. “It is good that people know how to grow this product, and look for alternatives. Plus, according to [the trainings], zinc helps our defenses in our bodies, helping our children to grow up healthy.” Because of Jacobo’s work, many families in the community will have access to a reliable source of food and income, even in years characterized by excessive rainfall. Moreover, now that Jacobo and more of his neighbors are harvesting rice, they have begun to work with Semilla Nueva to establish a small processing area close to the community. Before, they had to travel two hours to find a nearby machine to process their rice seed, increasing costs and making some farmers reluctant to plant. Now, with a nearby processing machine, they will be able to increase the size of their parcels and save seed to replant year after year, confident that they will be able to process larger quantities of seed. With his excess production, Jacobo sells rice by the pound out of his local store, generating some additional income for the family.

Thank you for making this possible!

Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.

If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our global hunger fund.

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