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Prosperous vegetables that bring borders closer

From very early, men and women in the rural area go out to the field to harvest snow peas, sweet peas, French green beans and mini-vegetables, products that have allowed them to improve their family income and raise the level of development in the communities.

One of the crops that stand out in this sector is snow peas that has contributed as a development promoter in Guatemala for more than 30 years and has brought opportunities to families in the rural areas.

It is known as the “peace crop”, given that it gave many families the opportunity to recover from an internal armed conflict, becoming a productive alternative and in that way having a promising and better future.

These non-traditional agricultural crops and that have diversified the exportable supply of the country have traveled to the United States (65%), Europe (30%), Canada, Asia and Central America (5%), with a growing demand, which allows farmers to obtain better economic income and sustainable development, since they can harvest every 90 days with profits of up to six times higher to that generated by subsistence agriculture.

Guatemala is currently one of the biggest producers and exporters of snow peas, sent to approximately 70 million pounds annually. This vegetable is exported as a fresh product and frozen, in different packaging and presentations, to the world.

With more than 30 years of exporting excellent quality products and with high safety standards, complying with international norms and regulations, have allowed strengthening the productive chain, from organized producers, suppliers, service providers, exporters, land, sea and air transportation, in addition to indirect benefits generated in the communities due to the increase in income that are locally used to vitalize the rural economy.

Another one of the products growing in the sector is French green beans, of which 55 million pounds are exported a year, innovating in different types of packages required by the international markets.

The vibrancy and growth of the sector have allowed the exporting business persons promote development and seek to improve the quality of life of 50 thousand families in approximately 200 rural communities.

70 million pounds of snow peas and 55 million pounds of French green beans are exported yearly from Guatemala 85% of the national production of snow peas, green beans and mini vegetables are located in the departments of Chimaltenango, Sacatepéquez and Sololá. The success of the industry has promoted the development of new productive areas in Huehuetenango, El Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz and Jalapa that complete the remaining 15%.

It is estimated that they grow around 11 thousand hectares of peas, 4 thousand of green beans and 6 thousand of broccoli that generate almost 60 thousand direct jobs per season and up to 1.5 million working days.

Official sources say that there are still areas good for planting these crops and that there are at least 250 thousand hectares more with potential to strengthen the vegetable sector, if they had the support and the necessary productive infrastructure.

The industry has matured, so the activities of the exporting sector focus on promoting the implementation of management systems for quality, good practices compliance in production processes and added value, sanitary and phytosanitary norms, national and international regulatory management, technology transfer, agricultural research as well as national and international commercial promotion.

In 2016, the National Pea Foundation (Fundarveja) was created as an initiative of the agroexporters businesses, with the objective of supporting the communities through social business responsibility, generating comprehensive development and better life conditions for the producer families of the rural area. This, through the programs and educational, nutritional and environmental safety projects, focused on the empowering and generation of opportunities for social and human capital development, respecting the identity and cultural practices as well as gender equity.

Exporting our high quality vegetables to the world, complying with world standards and with social business responsibility, snow peas, sweet peas, French green beans and other nontraditional vegetables are of great value in rural sustainable development for our country.