For the third consecutive year after the COVID-19 outbreak, Unispice has again agreed with its allies to distribute vegetables and legumes to the most vulnerable segments of the Guatemalan population. After 8 months, Unispice has donated the equivalent of 2.3 million food rations, which consist of two servings of vegetables, greens and/or legumes, averaging about 290 grams per serving (*). The table below summarizes the details of what was donated and includes important information that illustrates the impact and benefits generated.
* Annotation: One portion of vegetables is equivalent to 150-200 grams net weight (raw and cleaned). This weight equals 1 small plate of cooked vegetables (chard, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, cardoons, carrots, squash, green beans, etc.). One portion of legumes is equivalent to 60-90 grams for one normal plate. The combination of these portions make a nutritious RATION as a side dish of one meal. That is, one of these RATIONS is equivalent to 2.08 portions (servings) of vegetables, greens and/or legumes.
According to UNICEF, the two causes of child malnutrition in our country basically are lack food and eating habits. Our products provide the levels of nutrients necessary to have a balanced and healthy diet, supplying the deficiencies of vitamins and minerals that affect our children.
The Food Bank “Desarrollo en Movimiento”, our distribution partner, mentions in its report for the first half of 2022, that of the 525 children served, 50% showed growth retardation, low weight, malnutrition, and other conditions in 2021; the last nutritional evaluation identified that this percentage had decreased to 17% after our program started.
According to The Global Foodbanking Network® “the cost of food, fuel and fertilizer is rising rapidly around the world due to a series of interrelated catastrophic problems” (July 2022). Earlier this year, food prices reached record levels, the highest since the 1990s. This increase means that fewer people can eat a nutritious diet and that more people could fall into poverty and hunger.
Guatemala registers the second lowest inflation in Latin America but contrasts with the monthly cost of the Basic Food Basket, one of the highest in the Region (Bloomberg, July 2022). This behavior is confirmed by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in its monthly report of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which had the basic food basket at Q3,097.23 at the end of 2021, and in August 2022 it was at Q3, 454.98 (i.e. an 11.55% upward adjustment).
This time, we concentrated our distribution in 10 departments of the Republic, especially those close to our operation centers. Coincidentally, these departments are the ones that the National Institute of Statistics (INE, for its acronym in Spanish) reports with the highest General Poverty Indexes in their rural areas:
Only 14% (203,803 pounds) was distributed directly to nursing homes, children shelters, schools, collaborators, and producers. The rest (1,261,627 pounds) was allocated to low-income families through our public-private partners, who have the infrastructure and logistical means to reach the population in most need. Of this 86%, 1,158,694 pounds were distributed by government entities, specially the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance and 24 Municipalities in the Rural Area; the remaining 8% were distributed by community groups, food banks, foundations, and NGOs. This way, we ensure a broader coverage and achieve the agility to reduce food losses and waste.