Family Farming Knowledge Platform


Guatemala is a country characterized by cultural and biological diversity. It can be appreciated in the rural areas, where it powers 14.5 million Guatemalans’ way of life. However, according to socio-economic indicators of rural areas; 51.5% of the population in Guatemala still represents a country with one of the lowest human development in Latin America. In terms of characteristics of the rural area, 7.540.106 people reside in these areas. 50.4% are women, 50.9% identify themselves as belonging to indigenous Maya, Garifuna and Xinca and 1.299.377 households are clearly agricultural. It is estimated that 70% of Guatemala’s land area goes to agricultural and forestry activities, including family farming and agribusiness. With regard to family farming (FF) it is an ongoing process of reducing the size of farms and to increase in the number of owners of the same, particularly in the areas with less than 7 hectares. Also, there are approximately 164.097 farming households that do not own land, but practice some degree of small-scale agriculture.



FF peasant in Guatemala is composed according to the following typologies: infra-subsistence agriculture, subsistence farming, surplus agriculture and commercial agriculture (farmers-traders in the micro, small and medium scale). These families are shaped more by peasants in rural areas and most of them belong to indigenous peoples.

Also, the FF has a set of assets when added to its production systems are: traditional knowledge about uses and properties of species, diversity of genetic resources, diversity in management techniques; capacity for technological adaptation; partnership, family and community networks; a physical space for housing and backyard, and generally community rights over forests or common suburbs; plots, facilities, equipment and tools; avings, affordability of loans for family work and some receive remittances.

The proportion of the population practicing FF has been prioritized by the State through defining the National Policy on Integral Rural Development (PNDRI), which integrates different policies and aims to "achieve a progressive and permanent improvements in the quality of life Guatemalan rural families and, in general, the inhabitants of rural areas, through the equitable and sustainable use of productive resources, means of production, natural resources and environmental services for sustainable integral human development in rural areas".

To activate and adjust this Policy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA) promotes Family Farming Program for Strengthening Rural Economy (PAFFEC), which is aimed at the most vulnerable population in terms of food insecurity and nutrition and poverty (extreme and non-extreme). The program highlights families who produce enough food through the stabilization of their production systems and support producers in linking them to markets for the commercialization of food from the FF.

The challenges of FF in Guatemala are an integrated vision of all players in government, private sector and civil society to generate differentiated public policies that facilitate articulated mechanisms of social protection, rural extension services, access to natural resources and markets in marginalized rural areas in order to advance towards more productive and sustainable food systems.


This text is kindly provided by the authorities of this country.

Family farming lex

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