Guatemala Maize

Maize Storage in Guatemala Saves Crops and Brightens Lives

Small farmers living in rural Guatemala were losing half of their crops in 1996, when CTI began helping maize producers protect their harvest from mold, insects and rodents.

For people heavily dependent on their maize for both nourishment and income, such a massive waste of food was tragic.

In 1996, CTI began collaborating with Fundación CRYSOL, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization, to help rural communities reduce their staggering maize losses through improved shelling, drying and storage of corn.

Corn Crib

CTI trained local artisans to build cribs and silos for drying and storing maize. Guatemalan women purchased the silos with micro-loans and reported feeling “empowered” after being able to easily repay the loans within months after earning additional income form their surplus harvest.

1,800 families in 26 communities saved over 1 million pounds of maize after the introduction of drying cribs and silos.

Doña Elvira Sanchez Lemus, of the hill town of Miramundo, said that through this program her family now enjoys abundant, nutritious corn. She and her husband, Eliseo, do not have to buy corn from others but rather have their own surplus as a result of eliminating their previous loss.

“It’s a miracle,” she wrote, “thanks to CRYSOL and to CTI.”

But thanks also to Doña Elvira and their family. They believed in the possibility of change, acted on it, and now have greater opportunities in their lives.