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United Kingdom strengthens food security in Central America through genetic biodiversity

The British Ambassador to Guatemala, Nick Whittingham, visited Huehuetenango on 24 May within the framework of the project “Community-based agro-biodiversity systems for improved livelihoods and climate resilience” which is funded through the Darwin Initiative, of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) of the British Government.

Climate change affects agricultural production in Central America, making it highly vulnerable to droughts, high temperatures, increased rainfall in short periods and hurricanes. Likewise, crops are experiencing loss of agrobiodiversity due to changes in land use and deforestation.

In response to these problems, the project will focus on developing varieties of corn and bean seeds that adapt to changing climate conditions in collaboration with local organizations and farmers. Likewise, the project will seek to strengthen collaboration between local seed banks and national banks of other grain varieties in the region, allowing the project to benefit approximately 3,000 families.

The project started in July 2023 and will end in December 2025, and has financing of almost Q6 million (approximately US$760,000) from the British government. The project is implemented in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica by a consortium of organizations made up of: ASOCUCH – Association of Organizations of the Cuchumatanes, FIPAH – Foundation for Participatory Research with Farmers of Honduras, FECODESA – Federation of Cooperatives for Development, The University of Zamorano, the University of Costa Rica and the Norwegian Development Fund.