Training indigenous farmers in climate smart agricultural practices

We work with local farmers in protected areas to develop sustainable green businesses that enable local people to generate incomes and care for the forests.

Detailed map highlighting the geographic locations of past and active projects in Guatemala.
Izabal, Alta and Baja Verapaz, Petén, Huehuetenango and Sololá, Guatemala
Value Chain Crops, Spices, Crafts, Poultry
Active Since


Guatemala is ecologically rich, but vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change, both of which hit rural and indigenous farmers hardest.

With plantation-style industrial farming taking up much of the country, access to land is a big issue. Local farmers are often forced to farm steep, unstable slopes, where the soil quality is poor.

Heifer International started working in Guatemala in 1970, distributing livestock to rural farmers during the country’s long civil war. Since 2010, we have focused our work in six departments: Izabal, Alta and Baja Verapaz, Petén, Huehuetenango and Sololá.



More than 498,000 families supported by our work.

Our work focuses on building social capital; food security and nutrition; disaster risk reduction, protecting the environment and climate smart agriculture; and building inclusive businesses.

We work with local farmers in protected areas to develop sustainable green businesses that allow local people to generate incomes and care for the forests. And we have strong experience in strengthening value chains at the community level in the spices sector, supporting local producers to deliver cardamom, black pepper, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, annatto and vanilla to local and international spice markets.

Working closely with farmers and rural entrepreneurs, we identify the best opportunities to increase their incomes and provide a range of business management training. In doing so, we partner with cooperatives, NGOs, universities and research centers, as well as local, national and international associations.

Our RISE-UP project better prepares 4,200 at-risk farming families for weather shocks by establishing disaster reduction and emergency response systems and training and equipping 105 local coordinators. The restoration of 725 acres of forests is helping mitigate dangerous weather.

Our Women’s Empowerment and Entrepreneurship project supports local women to organize into more than 30 self-help groups that dye and weave organic fiber into handicrafts, or raise cage-free poultry. They pool their money and establish profitable business models.

The project is expected to generate more than $1 million in group savings and create 40 new businesses generating 20% annual profit.


Living Income

Heifer works with farmers to secure a living income so they can lead dignified and prosperous lives. Learn more about what achieving a living income entails.


  • ADRI - Asociación para el Desarrollo Rural Integral
  • APODIP - Asociación de Productores Orgánicos para el Desarrollo Integral del Polochic
  • ASOCUCH - Asociación de Organizaciones de los Cuchumatanes
  • ASEDECHI - Asociación de Servicios y Desarrollo Socioeconómico de Chiquimula
  • ASORECH - Asociación Regional Campesina Ch’ort’i
  • Ayuda en Acción, España
  • CECI - Centro de Estudios y de Cooperación Internacional
  • Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza (Nature Defenders Foundation)
  • Good Neighbors, Korea
  • Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Institute of Teaching for Sustainable Development (IEPADES)
  • Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA)
  • Ministry of Environment of the Government of Germany
  • OroVerde, Germany
  • Pastoral Social de las Verapaces
  • Texas A&M University

More about our work in Guatemala:

Heifer Guatemala