For the third consecutive year after the COVID-19 outbreak, Unispice has once again convened with its allies to distribute vegetables and legumes to Guatemala’s most vulnerable segments of the population. In 2022 Unispice donated 2.75 million lbs (almost double the average donated annually during 2020 and 2021), equivalent to 4.3 million food rations, which consist of two servings of greens, vegetables and/or legumes, overall averaging about 290 grams per ration (*). The chart below summarizes the donations and includes important information that illustrates the impacts and benefits.
Annotation: A portion of vegetables is equivalent to 150-200 grams net weight (raw and clean). This weight is equivalent to 1 small plate of cooked vegetables (chard, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, cardoons, carrots, squash, green beans, etc.). A portion of legumes is equivalent to 60-90 grams for a normal individual meal. Combining these portions will make a nutritious side dish for a meal time. In other words, a RATION in this case is equivalent to 2.3 servings of vegetables and/or legumes.
1 https://www.nutritionix.com/food/ According to the Percent of Daily Values based on a 2,000 Calorie diet.
Our products provide the necessary nutrients for a balanced and healthy diet, making up for the deficiencies of vitamins and minerals that affect the children. The food bank “Desarrollo en Movimiento”, our allied distribution partner, mentions in its October 2022 report that, of the 525 children cared for, 50% had been diagnosed with malnutrition in 2021; the last nutritional evaluation showed that this percentage decreased to 20% after the program.
As part of Unispice’s humanitarian aid program, support for the education sector is very important, especially public schools in rural communities. For many households, the food offered by schools is the children’s most nutritious meal. For this reason, it is essential that these meals provide the levels of nutrients necessary for a balanced and healthy diet. Another advantage of providing this meal is that school dropouts are avoided and safe family spaces are generated at these critical ages of childhood.
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 rise means fewer people can eat a nutritious diet, and more people could fall into poverty and hunger. Guatemala registers the second lowest inflation in Latin America, but it contrasts with the monthly cost of the Basic Food Basket, one of the highest at the regional level (Bloomberg, July 2022). This behavior is confirmed by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in its monthly report on the Consumer Price Index (IPC), which had the basic food basket at Q3,097.23 at the end of 2021 and in November 2022 it reached Q3, 618.58 (i.e. a 17% bullish correction).
This time, we concentrated our distribution of donations in 12 departments of the Republic. These departments are the ones that the National Statistics Institute (INE) reports with the highest General Poverty Indices in their rural areas (ENCOVI 2011):
Only 7% (251,930 lbs) was distributed directly to nursing homes, children’s homes, schools, collaborators, and producers. The rest (2,497,839 lbs) 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 91%, 1,827,134 lbs were distributed by government entities, the Ministry of Public Health, and Social Assistance and 28 Municipalities in the Rural Area; the remaining 27% was distributed by community groups, food banks, foundations and churches. This way we ensure a broader coverage and achieve agility to reduce food losses and waste.