British Embassy Promotes Trade As A Tool For Integral Rural Development In The Adjacency Zone

The British Ambassador in Guatemala, Carolyn Davidson, visited the community of La Compuerta, in the Adjacency Zone, which has benefited from agricultural trade and the promotion of tourism

Adjacency Zone

Adjacency Zone

Under the auspices of a project supported by the British Embassy, La Compuerta, in the County of Poptún (Petén), has been specializing in the cultivation of cocoa and cardamom. The project also has support from the local farmers’ organisation in Petén (COACAP) as well as the cross-sectoral working group for Land and Environment (MITA), Association Balam, the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economy and other organizations.

The project involves the organization and commercial registration of COACAP as a business structure to support the commercialization of its partners and farmers to sell their production directly, without intermediaries, increasing their profit margin and value chain. Some 300 people from these communities have benefited from this initiative and more farmers are now joining.

Cocoa produced in the local communities – and xate elsewhere – is bought by wholesalers who use it in local industrial processes or even for export. It is expected that more local communities will join the initiative and by the end of 2019 more than 500 families will be participating. COACAP, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, helps build capacity in the community organizations so that they can be suppliers under the Family Farming Law.

The Ambassador also visited the Naj Tunich Caves in La Compuerta, where Association Balam is supporting a shared management approach to local tourism, together with the Ministry of Culture and Sports. This ensures that the local people get involved in protection of their natural environment and recognise its value as a tourist destination.

On the second day of her visit, the Ambassador met with representatives of MITA and the recently created Association for Integral Rural Development of the Adjacency Zone (ADRIZA). ADRIZA encourages local involvement in political discussions to ensure the local community in the Adjacency Zone has a voice.

The Ambassador heard how both organizations are working together to try and reduce poverty in the area, and get involved in decision-making by engaging with present and future political actors, as the country prepares for the 2019 General Elections.

The Ambassador stressed the importance of confidence-building measures between Guatemala and Belize and the reduction of tensions in the Adjacency Zone. From 2017 to date the British Embassy have invested around Q500,000 in projects aimed at these objectives.