In Guatemala, religion, culture and farming are intertwined. Ancient legend explains why maize still has symbolic status here as well as being a staple part of the diet.
Oscar and Alexandra work for Oïkos, a Portuguese NGO funded by the EU’s Food Facility Programme, overseeing a food security project in the north of Guatemala. Lying between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Guatemala, with over 14 million inhabitants, is the most densely populated country in Central America.
In Guatemala, over half the population lives below the poverty line. In the more remote regions, that figure is higher.
Felipe has a small field where he grows maize and beans. But there is only one crop a year. If all goes well, the produce he harvests is just about enough to feed his family. And these two staples do not provide all the required nutrients. It may not be immediately obvious, but these children are suffering from malnutrition. For example, Felipe’s youngest daughter, Jessica, is 3, but she is the same size as his nephew who is just 18 months old. They have serious dietary deficiencies which are affecting their growth.
Oikos is working to improve the situation.
But for a billion hungry people in the world, this is nothing but a distant dream.