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Guatemala hit hard by tropical storm Agatha

Thousands of hectares of crops and irrigation infrastructure have been destroyed (© FAO)
Thousands of hectares of crops and irrigation infrastructure have been destroyed

Guatemala's Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle and Food and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are distributing seeds and fertilisers to thousands of farmers whose crops were destroyed by tropical storm Agatha, in June 2010. Activities to support small scale backyard production of poultry and vegetables are also being implemented to improve the nutrition of the most vulnerable families.

Over 60,000 Guatemalan farming families have lost thousands of hectares of maize, kidney bean, coffee and vegetable crops. Winter crops are also at risk because the storm severely affected irrigation infrastructure. "Commercial crops like banana, melon and lemon have been seriously affected, which has directly hit the poorest households who labour on these commercial farms and rely on them for their livelihoods," explains Iván Angulo, FAO representative in Guatemala.

"The integral managment of watersheds in the country is essential to reduce the vulnerability of thousands of people, their crops and livelihoods," Angulo concludes. "Every time it rains, a great quantity of crops are lost and soils are eroded. Given the vulnerability of the region to extreme natural events, reforestation, recovery of degraded soils, and the use of terraces and agroforestry systems are good practices that can make a difference."

Date published: July 2010


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