Guatemala City (March 2, 2017) - The Program Promoting Food Security and Resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction in Agriculture ("I Adapt") seeks to help vulnerable families in the municipalities of Sansare and Sanarate in the Department El Progreso. Through trainings given to farmers, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) has encouraged the use of new climate-smart farming techniques. With the support of the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), this initiative has encouraged the use of techniques to maximize crop yields and alleviate food insecurity in Guatemala.
PADF is working with farmers affected by the worst drought in decades. By sharing methodologies that can improve crops in affected areas, PADF aims to improve the lives of 9,000 vulnerable farmers and their families. In partnership with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), the existing network of Rural Development Learning Centers (CADERs), managed by the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA), has been expanded and strengthened.
Since 2016, PADF has established 20 new learning centers and strengthened operations for an additional 40, with an average of 25 families participating in the agricultural activities of each center. A “Finca Demostrativa” (Demonstration Farm) has been established in Sanarate where agricultural techniques and crops are evaluated to determine their effectiveness in areas prone to drought. PADF is sharing best practices and agricultural technologies with the families that participate in the learning centers. The program has encouraged the use of greenhouses, soil conservation techniques, efficient irrigation systems and climate monitoring systems to improve crop production. These techniques are being transmitted to more than 1,500 families.
Elsa Maritza Ruano Morales, from the "Los Aritos" learning center in Sansare, says: "One of the best things we have learned is to produce our own food, for the benefit of our children. In this way, we can prevent diseases due to poor diet. In addition, we have learned methods that are good for the environment, how to maintain our crops and prepare for drought and to survive.”
To date, PADF and partners have held workshops with 60 learning center members and provided technical assistance for the development of Community Action Plans. Through these plans, farmers are able to identify and understand threats to their food security, as well as strategies to improve food production and support income generation. Through the donation of greenhouses, irrigation systems and pumping equipment, PADF seeks to provide communities with the resources necessary to implement their action plans.
Thanks to these efforts, both new and existing CADERs have the opportunity to determine the best crop varieties to be planted using quality equipment. Now, they have the tools necessary for them to put into practice what they’ve learned. They have also been given seeds of beans, corn and other vegetables to provide more food during the dry season in these municipalities.
"With all that has been learned and obtained from the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), we hope to produce more food that not only benefits our families, but also to sell our crops at the market," says Melvin Morales of CADER San Rafael, Sanarate.
According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean. PADF has redoubled its efforts to help local farmers to be prepare for the impact of climate change and to ensure food sustainability. In this case, the community’s response allowed them to identify problems and solutions and to collaborate with PADF to mitigate food insecurity in the country.
*The content is the responsibility of PADF and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the Government of the United States of America.