The Andalusian Agency for Cooperation and the Ministry of Agriculture of Guatemala are starting a joint venture of rural development that promotes food security and reduction of child malnutrition in Chiquimula and Baja Verapaz, and will benefit 11, 661 families. The Minister of Agriculture of Guatemala, Alfonso de León, y Javier Serrano, the coordinator of the Andalusian Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID) in Guatemala signed yesterday the official documents. The program will combat child malnutrition and food insecurity and will benefit 11, 661 families in Baja Verapaz and Chiquimula, two of the departments most affected by the extensive drought of 2009.
This Rural Development Programme which emphasizes on food security and reduction of child malnutrition in the departments of Baja Verapaz and Chiquimula, will have a duration of two years 2010 -2011, it is financed by the Spanish autonomous community with 2 million 900 thousand Euros.
The objectives are to improve the availability and access to food, diversifying the production of food and nutrients for the producers themselves, and facilitate the creation of surpluses to increase the incomes of subsistence farmers and extremely poor farmers.
Thus, through its support of MAGA, the Spanish cooperation will strengthen the Strategy for the Reduction of Chronic Malnutrition in Guatemala. The core of the program, is to improve the household economy, one of the three pillars of the strategy, along with drinking water and community organization.
One of the first activities of the program will be a baseline study to characterize, select and prioritize the communities and families that will be benefiting, said Javier Serrano, the coordinator of the Andalusian Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID).
The Ambassador of Spain Carmen Diez Orejas, explained that the donation from Spain is part of the grants for rural development and pointed out that another essential part of the Spanish program for Guatemala is the Fund for Water, which in its two years of operation in Guatemala has provided funds for over U.S. $ 80 million.
In her speech, the Ambassador of Spain Carmen Diez Orejas, stressed the importance of complementing efforts and that the two countries work together to face the biggest challenge in Guatemala: chronic child malnutrition. "For all of us who live in Guatemala it is very hard to understand the high rates of malnutrition."
She pointed out that with the solidarity of the Spanish people alone , the problem will not be solved, it requires the leadership and commitment of the Guatemalan Agricultural Ministry.
The Minister of Agriculture of Guatemala said that this aid will facilitate the work they are doing to lay the foundations for a new Ministry, which seeks to expand the work of extension into the rural communities.