The Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils partnership, a State Department-funded program aimed at building resilient crops and healthy soils globally, has expanded to Guatemala.

Launched in February 2023 in Africa, VACS focuses on increasing supply and demand for a range of crops with sustainable land use. With a goal of spreading technical assistance and shared knowledge across the Americas, consultations began last month to develop VACS Guatemala investment priorities.

Director General Manuel Otero of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), says the initiative “can benefit growers and local economies in the food system across Latin America.”

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Investments will primarily focus on increasing production efficiency of Guatemala’s bean, potato, rice and corn crops and building value chains and a network of technical tools.

Maynor Estrada, agriculture minister of Guatemala, says a multi-sector approach is crucial to reduce inequality and poverty. “Social development, fighting hunger, and building infrastructure, especially digital, are crucial for agriculture to fulfill its mandate,” he said.

The program is backed by technical service providers such as IICA, the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the State Department. Private sector partners are ADM, Bayer, Catholic Relief Services and the Global Crop Diversity Trust.