Guatemala is the world’s third-largest exporter of snow peas and sugar snap peas, and indigenous farmers living in the highlands produce 99 percent of the crops. Gaining access to fair trade vegetable markets can make a big difference for these farmers, who are among the nation’s most impoverished, with 70 percent living below the international poverty line. Indigenous populations in Guatemala also have one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world.
Promoting Food Security
Ninety-eight percent of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries. This means more than 200 million Africans and 50 million Latin Americans are food insecure. Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund, promotes food security by financing vital pre-harvest inputs for domestic crop production, such as drought-resistant seed, and by financing businesses that produce dietary staples for sale in domestic markets, such as dairy products and maize. By providing financing and training, Root Capital helps farmers produce more food for local consumption.
Freshco, a Root Capital client since 2010, is a Kenyan company that sells high-yield, drought-resistant seed, primarily maize, to small-scale farmers. Maize seed that is optimized for the climates of Kenya’s various regions can produce up to two times more grain per hectare than ordinary seed. By providing better seed to farmers, Freshco is helping to feed a nation in which nearly three million are food insecure.