The head of the United Nations (UN) rural development arm, Kanayo F. Nwanze, today began an official visit to Guatemala to talk with the country’s leaders today about ways of alleviating poverty and tackling environmental challenges.
Nwanze will meet with President Álvaro Colom Caballeros and representatives from rural development program PRODEVER to review the progress of poverty-reduction programs and market-access projects. The $26 million PRODEVER program has helped some 1,800 farmers and small business owners to increase their incomes. The program has successfully improved market access by creating several infrastructure and training projects, including the construction of rural roads. The UN program has also helped more than 1,600 women learn to how to read, generated over 300 new jobs for the region and opened new international markets for local producers.
Wal-mart now buys 1 million mandarin oranges for its U.S. stores that come from Guatemala farmers. Nonetheless, a recent study highlighted the prevalent hunger issue in the country, now effecting 98% of low-income households. Guatemala has approximately 14 million residents of which 52% live in poverty.