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  1. GUATEMALA Image Retrieved from

  2. Photograph: Noah Friedman-Rudovsky/Oxfam Domingo Tamupsis "The money I make is not enough to feed us," he says. "We feed the children first because the girls cry so much when they are hungry, but it's not enough and I think that's why they get ill and don't thrive. I don't know where to get more money: I can't work any harder and I can't steal because they shoot you if you steal." PovertyMattersBlog, Guatemala pays high price for global food system failings, By Felicity Lawrence on May 31st, 2011

  3. Félix Pérez, 51 “Every day its more difficult to survive since we live off the land, and there’s less and less,” he said

  4. Gilberto Galindo Morales, 46 • Nearby plantations divert and deplete rivers to feed industrial-scale irrigation systems making farming difficult for small farmers • Ash from burning cane fields after harvest damages his corn crop and irritates his children’s lungs, he said. “I’m trying not to because I need that land to grow corn.” Image Retrieved from

  5. Guatemala • Means “land of trees” • Located in Central America • Bordered by Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, & Belize • Population of roughly 14 million • Has an area of 108,890 square kilometers (42,043 square miles), slightly smaller than the state of Tennessee. Image Retrieved from

  6. Country’s History • 3 distinct time periods • Mayan indigenous • Spanish colonial • Modern republic • Includes much of the old Mayan civilization; dates back to 300 B.C. Image Retrieved from

  7. Mayan Period • Featured highly developed architecture, painting, sculpture, music, mathematics, a 365-day calendar, roads, and extensive trade • Ancient Mayan civilization collapsed around 900 A.D. • Ancient natives lived throughout Central America • Grew maize (corn) as their staple crop • Commonly consumed amaranth, a cereal grain Image Retrieved from

  8. Spanish Colonial to Modern Republic • 1523-24: Spanish conquistador, Pedro de Alvarado defeats the Maya, turning Guatemala into a Spanish colony • 1839: Guatemala becomes fully independent • 1873-85: Justo Rufino Barrios, modernizes the country • 1898-1920: Manuel Estrada Cabrera, early encouragement of reform, later developed into a lust for power • 1931-44: Jorge Ubico, continued the work of Barrios • 1944: Juan Jose Arevalo, introduces social-democratic reforms • 1951: Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, continues Arevalo’s reforms • 1954: Colonel Carlos Castillo, discontinues land reform • 1960-96: 36-year long civil war

  9. Agricultural History • 1870s: Bananas are introduced and soon become the “miracle fruit” • After 1945: Sugarcane became a successful agricultural crop • 1976-78: Numerous earthquakes & Hurricane Greta cause massive damage to plantations • 1980s: Encouraged to pursue growth through agricultural exports • 2001: Month-long drought leads to nearly an 80% crop loss throughout countries of Central America • 2005: Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was signed with the U.S. and took effect on Jan. 1st, 2006 • 2006: New report identifies fertilizer runoff from commercial agricultural plantations • 2008: Central American leaders are warn of the climbing food and oil prices possibly unraveling recent economic gains

  10. Pre-contact Maya Diet • Based on 3 meals • 2 meals were beverages made from a nixtamalized maize dough • 3rd meal, the evening meal, was either a soup or a stew accompanied by a tamale or tortilla Image Retrieved from

  11. Today’s Guatemalan Diet • Corn continues to be a staple food • Most often consumed as a tortilla • Atole corn beverages are very popular as well • Other staples include • Beans • Rice • Root vegetables • Fresh fruit is eaten occasionally • Very little meat consumed • Fish/Seafood is more commonly found along the coastlines

  12. Image Retrieved from

  13. Guatemalan Diet Affected By Other Cultures • Typical Mexican dishes, such as • Enchiladas • Guacamole • Empanadas • Most Guatemalan cities and towns have at least one Chinese restaurant • American diet of fast food

  14. Guatemalan Food Staples Corn Beans Chili Image Retrieved from Image Retrieved from Image Retrieved from

  15. What Changed? • Prior to the 1980s, Guatemala was self-sufficient in corn production • Since the 1980s, the country has become a huge corn importer Images retrieved from and

  16. Besides food, where is corn used… • Ethanol, Industrial alcohol • Soap, Insecticides • Paper products, Textiles • Explosives • Ceramics, Adhesives • Plastics, Tires, Abrasive paper • Antibiotics, Aspirin, Disinfectant

  17. Ethanol Production • 1 bushel of corn yields about 2.5 gallons of fuel ethanol • Roughly 130 bushels of corn are produced per acre • Ethanol yields 1.34 units of energy Information Retrieved from and

  18. World Ethanol Consumption • In 2011, the world consumed 1,405,600 barrels per day • Guatemala produced 4,000 barrels per day and consumed NONE

  19. Group Project • Please work in groups to find the answers to the questions given. • Be prepared to explain how you got to your answers

  20. Consequences of global biofuel expansion • Accounted for 20-40% of corn price increases seen in 2007-8 • $6.6 billion borne by developing countries • Guatemala absorbed $91 million in ethanol-related costs • Dependence grew from 9% in the early 1990s to nearly 40% today

  21. What is happening?

  22. Palm Plantations • Palm oil has also become a contributor to biofuel production • According to estimates by the National Institute for Agrarian and Rural Studies in Guatemala City: • Land given to palm production towards the biofuel industry has grown by 146% in a 5-year period (2005-10) A worker carries palm fruit near the town of Tiquisate, Guatemala. Photograph: Noah Friedman-Rudovsky/Oxfam

  23. Food Access and Concerns • Guatemala has struggled to address chronic and sporadic levels of undernutrition in the population • An average of 82% of daily calories is coming from corn, beans, rice, and tubers • However, urban areas are starting to adopt diet characteristics seen in North America • Complications of social factors such as • Geographical isolation • Ethnic diversity • Household characteristics • Water quality greatly affects incidence of infectious diseases and diarrhea

  24. Nutritional Implications • Roughly 50% of children are chronically malnourished • Retarded growth & stunting • 1 in 4 children suffer from iron deficiency anemia (IDA) • Impairs physical growth, cognitive development, immune system, motor development, coordination, language development, and overall scholastic achievement • Adults are also affected by IDA • 20.2% of women are affected • Vitamin A & B12 deficiencies are common

  25. Tell us something • What did you know about Guatemala and/or the biofuel industry before today? • How did learning more about this issue affect you?

  26. Additional References • PovertyMattersBlog, Global food crisis: Palm rush proves costly for Guatemala's small farmers, By Felicity Lawrence on May 31st, 2011 • • • • The many, many uses for corn. By cecilia Paasche. Retrieved from • • • • • • • • • McDonald, M.R. (2009). Food Culture in Central America. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press. • • As biofuel deman grows, so do Guatemala’s hunger pangs. NY Times article. Retrieved from •