Canada working with Guatemala to improve food security and reduce chronic malnutrition

October 24, 2013

OTTAWA — Today the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Luis Fernando Carrera. At the meeting, they discussed increased cooperation between the two countries on a variety of issues. Minister Paradis also announced Canada's support to Guatemala's efforts to increase agricultural productivity and reduce malnutrition in children and women.

"Canada is supporting Guatemala's work to improve the nutrition of thousands of young children as well as pregnant and new mothers, while at the same time helping small-scale farmers increase their profits and markets access for the quality maize and beans they produce," said Minister Paradis. "These are exactly the kind of self-sustaining projects that will allow countries to become more resilient and increase prosperity for all their citizens."

The project will make an important contribution to food security in Guatemala and responds to the Government of Guatemala's strategic priority to reduce chronic malnutrition in the country. Canada's support for the project is aligned with the objectives of the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition initiative.

"The Government of Guatemala is making significant efforts to obtain sustainable development results, and guaranteeing the food and nutritional security of Guatemalans," said Minister Carrera. "Our government launched the Zero Hunger Pact as a top priority. This comprehensive approach includes the United Nations World Food Programme Purchase for Progress as well as other maternal, newborn, and child health initiatives."

This new contribution announced today builds upon the results of the first Purchase for Progress Program in eastern Guatemala, which began with Canada's support in 2010. Canada is working with its partners in the Americas to increase economic opportunity, strengthen security and institutions and foster lasting relationships.

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For more information, media should contact:

Margaux Stastny, Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: margaux.stastny@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
Telephone: 819-995-1874
Email: media@international.gc.ca
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Backgrounder

Canada supports Guatemala’s efforts to improve food security and reduce chronic malnutrition in children and women

The project announced today, worth $10 million, delivers on Canada's objectives related to food security as an international development priority, as well as those related to Canada’s commitment under the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

The project will increase sustainable agriculture productivity for some 3,300 small-scale farmers, and improve consumption of nutritious foods or food supplements for more than 33,500 beneficiaries who lack food security, adequate nourishment, or are dependent on food assistance.

Some of the project’s activities include technical assistance to small-scale farmers, helping reduce post-harvest losses and improving the quality of products. Farmers’ organizations will receive assistance to increase access to markets and sales, and the World Food Programme will increase the demand for crop surpluses (maize and beans) through significant purchases.

Through the project farmers’ surpluses will be purchased and then processed to make enriched food supplements for infants and children, aged 6-23 months old, and for pregnant and lactating women. This is critical to prevent stunted growth chronic malnutrition.

A private sector partnership will be established, where the World Food Programme will request bids from agro-industry companies to produce food supplements to be purchased by the World Food Programme. This will be done with the agreement that the companies will purchase the basic grains required from the farmers’ organizations participating in the Purchase for Progress element of the project. This win-win situation will provide a new market for the farmers while agro-industry companies will also have a firm buyer for their product, which will be produced to World Food Programme nutrition specifications. In this way, the project will support the Government of Guatemala’s priority of improving nutrition.