Quek’chi children in Maya Nut tree nursery in Laguna Lachua, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Heather Finnecy photo

Guatemala

We started work in Guatemala in 2005 and have had a lot of impacts there.

Along with our partners we have trained in 316 communities in the departments of Peten, Sacatepequez, Suchitepequez, Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Retalhuleu and El Quiché. We have worked with universities, government ministries, NGOs and private enterprises to promote Maya Nut to alleviate poverty, environmental degradation, chronic malnutrition and stunting, marginalization of rural communities and gender inequity.

As a direct result of our work, in 2010 the Ministry of Forests (INAB) added Maya Nut to their list of reforestation species that qualify for forestry incentives program.  This was a coup because it made reforestation with Maya Nut much more economically appealing for the wealthy and for ranchers, who control the majority of land in Guatemala. Also in 2010, for the first time ever, the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA) planted Maya Nut in their nursery in Peten, for distribution to communities participating in our Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests program (link back to that page please). The nursery managers were impressed with Maya Nut’s high germination and survival rates, qualities which make Maya Nut one of the cheapest trees to produce in tree nurseries. Since that first experiment, Maya Nut is a regular component of MAGA’s tree nurseries and demand for trees is growing rapidly every year.  MAGA still produces all of the Maya Nut trees we distribute for reforestation in Guatemala, and this partnership greatly reduces our costs and increases our impacts in Guatemala. Because of the synergetic partnership with MAGA, we and our partners have planted more than 1,500,000 Maya Nut trees in Guatemala. Our partner and lead trainer for the “Green Ranching Program” Gelio Cuellar has established a 15 hectare Maya Nut experimental plantation in Peten, Guatemala which serves as a “field school” for people and groups from all over Central America.

The Bagel Barn in Antigua Guatemala sells Maya Nut bagels, Maya Nut cream cheese, Maya Nut milkshakes and Maya Nut cookies. They also carry Maya Nut powder and “coffee” by the pound. Isabel Pasquier photo

Another outcome of our Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests program in Guatemala has been that the Ministry of Education passed a law that children in the department of Peten receive Maya Nut school lunches at least once per week. While this law has never been enforced, we are nevertheless impressed that our Maya Nut lunch program had such an important impact on the Guatemalan government.

BSNS537107_869867283032795_1711896594_nThere are now 6 Maya Nut producer groups in Guatemala; 4 in the Peten, one in Ixcan, and one on the South Coast. These groups have different production capacities, and strategies. The ones in Peten are more focused on production for export. The one in Ixcan is creating and marketing nutritional supplements for malnutrition and the local market, and the one on the South Coast supplies the small local markets of Lake Atitlan region and Antigua.

Several shops sell Maya Nut products in Antigua and Guatemala City, the best ones are Distribuidora Chikach in Zone 1, Guatemala City and Bagel Barn in Antigua, 5ta Calle Poniente, #2, Antigua, Guatemala.

Photo Isabel Pasquier, 2014. The Bagel Barn in Antigua Guatemala sells Maya Nut bagels, Maya Nut cream cheese, Maya Nut milkshakes and Maya Nut cookies. They also carry Maya Nut powder and “coffee” by the pound.

For more information about our work in Guatemala, please contact us MayaNut@gmail.com, tel: +1-970-275-4065 skype: ErikaVohman