The highlands of Guatemala, including Huehuetanango, have one of the highest rates of food insecurity and malnutrition in the Americas. Nearly 70 percent of the 1.2 million inhabitants of the department live in poverty. A 2015 study found that 21 of 33 municipalities in the department had high rates of chronic malnutrition.
In 2017, we conducted a community diagnostic with 200 members of ACODIHUE to lay the groundwork for our food security work together. ACODIHUE had established a beekeeping project in 2017, along with a food security program. This venture has grown to include 90 women and men, but they had not yet fully addressed food security strategies to realize the potential of the program.
Food security programs are often focused on one strategy that may not reflect rural economies, which are flexible and opportunistic. So, implementing an income-generation strategy like beekeeping — without the ability to target lucrative markets, or investing income in improving family welfare — often limits success.