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Posts tagged: Guatemala

FAS Capacity-Building Efforts in Central America Yield Benefits There and at Home

Pablo Chacón, a Guatemalan farmer

Pablo Chacón, a Guatemalan farmer, takes notes at the CATIE dairy farm and research center in Turrialba, Costa Rica, where he is studying agroforestry on an FAS-funded scholarship.

Pablo Chacón, a young Guatemalan farmer who is studying agroforestry at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica, can now show the people in his home community how livestock grazing and hardwood forests can co-exist and prosper. Earlier this month, he told me and other Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) visitors to CATIE that the education he gained from his FAS-funded scholarship to CATIE has equipped him to be a change maker.

“CATIE’s research in the tropics shows that degraded lands can be restored using combined forest and pastoral production systems,” Chacón said. “The benefits of trees in pastures are clear: The shade helps reduce stress in animals during the dry season, keeps moisture in the soil and retains the strength of pastures during the dry season.” Read more »

#Newfarmers: Please Join me at the Table

Coming from a farming family in Georgia, I know firsthand the risks farmers take each and every day. The work is hard, the margins are slim and Mother Nature can be fickle. The questions that my family is asking about what happens to our farm in the future are questions that are shared by farmers across the country. Where will the next generation of farmers come from? Who will they be? Where will they live? How will they get started? What do they need to succeed?

Yesterday, I hosted a Google+ Hangout with Kate Danner and Alejandro Tecum, two passionate individuals who share a love of agriculture. They spoke about the challenges and experiences of new farmers across the country. With the recent Agricultural Census indicating the average age of farmers continues to rise and opportunities for new farmers are growing, I wanted to know why Kate and Alejandro got into agriculture and what advice they could offer to others interested in doing the same. Read more »

Joint USDA-Catholic Relief Services Project Feeds, Teaches Guatemalans To Ensure Food Security

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland provides food assistance to a family in the department of Santa Rosa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy-GuatemalaU.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland provides food assistance to a family in the department of Santa Rosa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy-Guatemala

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland provides food assistance to a family in the department of Santa Rosa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy-Guatemala

The “dry corridor” in Guatemala suffers from annual drought and food shortages that affect the food security and incomes of people in the region. Last year was worse than most—drought followed by devastating floods caused by tropical storms and rain that destroyed crops, increasing food insecurity and child malnutrition. Read more »

Guatemalan Girl Reaps Benefits of USDA’s Food for Education Program

Yenifer stands in front of her family’s small house, which she shares with her mother and two brothers.

Yenifer stands in front of her family’s small house, which she shares with her mother and two brothers.

The USDA McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program is working to make a difference in Central America. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of stunting in the world due to chronic malnutrition. More than 90 percent of families live on less than $2 a day and as a result, the majority of children are obligated to help their parents in the fields and stop attending school. Without education, their opportunities for work are greatly reduced. Read more »

Maintaining a Med Fly Barrier to Protect U.S. Fruits and Vegetables

On my recent trip to Guatemala, I had the honor and pleasure to spend some quality time with my counterpart from Mexico, Dr. Enrique Sanchez Cruz and the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Francisco Mayorga.

We were in Guatemala to attend the MOSCAMED Med Fly Commission meeting and to sign an agreement between Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and the United States to continue the MOSCAMED program. The program is a cooperative effort with a focus on maintaining a barrier for the med fly pest in Central America through the production of sterile flies and the development of natural parasites and organic bait sprays. Read more »