Helping Those who Contribute to Our Success

Sysco, Superior Foods, the Sustainable Food Lab, Oxfam and the Organization for Agricultural and Microenterprise Development have joined forces in a unique partnership dedicated to reducing poverty and improving the health and wellbeing of farmers and families in the Guatemalan Highlands who rely on agriculture for their livelihood.

This combined group effort, known as The Guatemala Highland Value Chain Development Alliance, is working with and investing in small family farms to help improve economic and social conditions in this fertile growing region. Although the Guatemalan Highlands have been blessed with phenomenal soil and near perfect growing conditions for the production of high quality produce, farmers, families and entire villages have struggled with poverty for generations.

Despite an active food production industry, childhood malnutrition rates as high as 70 percent have been recorded by the United Nations Children's Fund. Women are equally as vulnerable, as market fluctuations and cultural stigma limit access to social services and opportunities for advancement.

Small farm and villages in this region face a complex mix of environmental, economic and social challenges, including a lack of access to necessary capital, the effects of climate change, eroding soil fertility due to improper soil management and the volatility of global produce markets.

The alliance formed between Sysco and our partners seeks to make use of a strong and well-established value chain to help farmers in the region increase production capacity, develop stronger relationships and grow products that create long-term income streams, develop sustainable farming methods and form the foundation for a resilient, dependable supply base for Sysco customers.

But The Guatemala Highland Value Chain Development Alliance is interested in doing more than increasing market opportunities. To date, the project has also reached 11 highland communities with:

  • Increased access to capital through a revolving fund
  • Small business management training
  • Soil testing and conservation programs
  • Access to fertilizers and other inputs at reduced costs
  • Infrastructure and training for irrigation systems
  • Training and infrastructure for compost facilities
  • Greenhouses and tools for seedling production
  • Vegetable processing and collection centers 
  • Jobs and training in vegetable processing, seedling production and compost generation

Programs are also in place to provide guidance in cultivation practices, pest control and packaging to improve overall quality control and productivity. Sysco Quality Assurance professionals are also actively involved in the region and have trained more than 35 farmers representing the three main growing cooperatives in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to promote greater food safety and reliable quality.

Our goal is to improve the lives of as many as 4,000 rural households in Guatemala by offering the resources and education people need to improve current conditions and increase their competitive advantage in the global marketplace. This program is one of the many ways Sysco and our partners give back to the farmers and families that supply us with the quality products upon which our valued customers rely.

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