Corporate Social Responsibility

English

The most disadvantaged populations in the rural areas of the countries where we work are currently facing a very difficult predicament due to rising food prices, as basic grains are imported from countries that generate huge surpluses on a global scale.

These communities’ main economic activity is the production of subsistence crops – mainly corn and other products – with very little low agricultural productivity. Under these conditions, agricultural production does not suffice to cover the nutritional needs of these communities, which means that the deficit must be compensated by purchasing food on a global market, where prices, as previously stated, are on the increase.

Since 2006, thanks to a strategic alliance with HELPS International, we have successfully implemented a series of projects thanks to which corn crop yields have hugely increased in many rural communities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras; thus making a successful transition from a subsistence agriculture to an agriculture that produces surpluses, meaning that production covers families’ needs in local populations and also generates a surplus that farmers can sell in local and regional markets, thereby generating a source of income that can be used to pay for all sorts of goods and services and allowing them to improve their living standards, all of which contributes to rural development.

As part of these projects, our agricultural technicians introduce communities to a series of basic agricultural practices and we also provide farmers with fertilizer and other essential supplies that allow them to boost crop yields. The results are very impressive, as corn harvests per unit area are trebled. This set of projects is known as the Maíz para Todos (Corn for Everybody) program.

This program began in Santa Avelina, Quiché, in Guatemala, in 2006. Due to its success, it was been replicated in 35 other communities in Guatemala, as well as in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Added to this, thanks to the voluntary contributions made by many of our partners, in the communities where we have implemented the Maíz Para Todos (Corn for Everybody) program, we have provided the participants’ families with wood-burning stoves and filters to purify water. The stoves reduce the use of wood by over 70% and avoid the risk of burns, respiratory illnesses and other health hazards derived from the presence of carbon monoxide due to the open fires that are traditionally used in rural homes.