Guatemala is a country rich in fertile agricultural land. Incredibly, it is also a country in which the United Nations estimates that roughly 50% of children are chronically malnourished, the fourth-highest rate in the world.
Boasting the largest rural population in Central America, over 60% of its inhabitants depend on agriculture to survive. Available agricultural land for rural families, however, is dwindling given discriminatory land distribution. It is estimated that 70% of all productive farmland is controlled by two to three percent of the population.
Local farmers are being forced, often violently, onto tiny plots, while large landowners favor long-term leases with multinational corporations. Land once devoted to growing food for subsistence farming populations is more profitably being used to grow cash crops for export. Export crops of flowers, corn, and sugarcane dominate agricultural land.
Land-grabbing for cash crops, under the guise of investment in agriculture, is a growing trend, and vulnerable communities who depend on land to subsist are being devastated. Not only are their human rights being violated, but they are starving. Because you can’t eat carnations. And corn and sugarcane destined for export and use as biofuel do not fill hungry stomachs.
Change for Children’s Community Food Security project benefits 250 marginalized farming families (2000 people) as well as 5 schools (800 students) who receive seeds, tools and training to improve agriculture and, by extension, nutrition in this region.