The CDAIS Guatemala innovation partnership on beans held the first of its intended activities on Monday 16th April in Atescatempa. A few kilometres from the El Salvador border in the dry south-east of the country, the department of Jutiapa suffers particularly from poor harvests, diets, and malnutrition, especially amongst mothers and children. In response, this partnership is promoting a new drought-resistant bean variety with enriched levels of iron and zinc. A seed cooperative is multiplying the seed and use, but more was needed. This meeting gathered new partners, including the local health services and extension services, and they agreed to adopt this as part of other complementarity activities to improve nutritional security.
On Tuesday 17th, the cacao partnership in Cobán in Alta Verapaz department in northern Guatemala finalized coordination aspects among organizations for an identified priority activity – organizing exchange visits between producers of Guatemala and Honduras that share the same objectives and challenges– to start immediately. Also, with the country programme manager Julio Catalán and Agrinatura focal person Nury Furlán, this was also an opportunity to reflect, make modifications to the coaching plan, and clarify reporting needs. Then the team moved on for another six-hour drive, this time to the south-west of the country…
In Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second city, the CDAIS team was greeted by a large and enthusiastic gathering of the apiculture partnership the next day. This was a full day’s training, excellently led by expert trainer Jesus Villatoro, who facilitated the sharing and gathering of opinions from the eight associations present, with the aim of preparing a 5-year strategic plan for CONAPI, an apex/umbrella beekeeper association recently re-activated, thanks to CDAIS.
The final stop of the tour on Thursday 19th was to the avocado partnership in San Andres Semetabaj. Here, CDAIS has seen great success as the approach attracted producers from further afield. And now, growers from eight municipalities are in the final stages of legalising their new association, also thanks to the active involvement of the extensionist network that has facilitated the CDAIS process within the niche. This meeting consolidated planning for the next steps. But also, as after each visit the respective niche facilitator joined the travelling team, there was also a rich exchange of experiences between the four partnerships.
After almost 24 hours ‘on the road’, the week ended in Guatemala City with a team reflection meeting on Friday 20th April. Experiences were also shared with EU representative Claudia Barillas who was happy with the evident progress and efforts to communicate the achievements, Eleonora Banfi of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation representative in Guatemala, FAO policy dialogue consultant Lourdes Balconi, and Belamino Gómez, national coordination representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Also present for the whole week were the new national communicator Jair Escobar, and the CDAIS global communications developer Nick Pasiecznik. And the experiences that many partnership actors were so very happy to share, clearly show the changes that are happening as plans move to actions, and that all the partnerships are well on the road to achieving concrete impacts.