Guatemalan smallholders support improved nutrition
WFP recently launched a new project in Guatemala linking P4P with the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement. This initiative, called Maíz Chapín contra el hambre (Guatemalan Maize Alliance Against Hunger), aims to improve nutrition and increase farmers’ income by using their surplus to create supplementary foods for at-risk populations.
In Guatemala, poverty and malnutrition are widespread. Chronic malnutrition or stunting occurs among 50 percent of children under the age of five, the fourth highest in the world. The Maíz Chapín contra el hambre project seeks to address malnutrition by promoting the consumption of nutritious foods and food supplements. It will also bolster the Government of Guatemala’s efforts to fight hunger and rural poverty by supporting P4P’s work in developing the capacities of smallholder farmers and their organizations.
Linking smallholders to the private sector
Through this programme, WFP will provide processed, nutrient rich foods to at-risk populations. These supplementary foods will be bought from agro-industry companies which have agreed to purchase the necessary basic grains from P4P-supported farmers’ organizations. This will provide smallholders with a new market for their yields, thereby providing opportunities to increase their incomes.
In Guatemala, P4P’s focus has been to strengthen farmers’ organizations by providing technical assistance and capacity development. The Maíz Chapín contra el hambre project will scale up capacity development in areas including improved agricultural production, storage and transformation, environmental practices, commercialization and institutional strengthening. . The links to credit and insurance already initiated through P4P will be reinforced and expanded.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT SUN
- Under the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, national leaders in 46 developing countries, including Guatemala, have committed to prioritizing efforts to address malnutrition.
- Participating countries are supported by four global networks: development partners, UN Agencies, Civil Society and Business. All four networks operate under the SUN Lead Group, which is appointed by UN Secretary General.
- SUN supports specific nutrition interventions including food fortification, micronutrient supplementation, and treatment of severe malnutrition.
- The initiative also encourages various nutrition-sensitive approaches which prioritize agriculture, clean water and sanitation, education and employment, health care, support for resilience and women’s empowerment.
The supplementary foods will be distributed to targeted beneficiaries. The project specifically targets pregnant and lactating women as well as infants and children aged 6 to 23 months, to foster healthy cognitive and physical development, combatting the effects of malnutrition and breaking its intergenerational cycle.
Through the project, WFP will also establish partnerships to assist food insecure people, particularly women, to create home gardens and soil conservation activities to increase targeted households’ resilience against natural and economic shocks. WFP and its partners will also form mother-to-mother support groups. These groups will discuss feeding and care practices, equipping mothers with the tools to provide their children with adequate nutrition.
Focus on women
The project will especially emphasize the participation and leadership of women in farmers’ organizations and their communities. Gender equality training will be provided to both men and women to demonstrate the tangible benefits of increasing women’s active participation in and gains from farming activities. Women will be specifically targeted for leadership training. The initiative will also work with farmers’ organizations to develop and implement gender equality policies, and to organize knowledge fairs and exchanges of experience between both men and women participants.
Women play an important part in improving nutrition, as women are generally the primary caregivers of children and take the leading role in food preparation. Women have been found to spend their increased incomes improving the lives of their children by investing in education, health care and nutritious foods.
Partnerships vital to project
Maíz Chapín contra el hambre is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD), and has been made possible by partnerships between WFP, the national government, the private sector, and NGOs. It will be implemented in eight departments and target some 42,000 beneficiaries.