Paul Townsend, Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (CRS-USCCB), and Germán González, Chief of Party for PRO-INNOVA Agropecuaria Popoyán S.A., signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 10th to formalize the alliance between the two organizations for the benefit of agricultural producers in Guatemala’s Western Highlands.
Agropecuaria Popoyán S.A. is a USAID grantee of Feed the Future Guatemala Innovative Solutions for Agricultural Value Chains Project (PRO-INNOVA). The PROINNOVA Project´s main purpose is to reduce poverty and chronic malnutrition in Western Highland departments – Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, San Marcos, and Quiché.
Both, Popoyán and CRS, agreed to cultivate a collaborative relationship based on principles of subsidiarity, complementarity, reciprocity, transparency, sustainability, community participation, strengthening of civil society, and capacity development of vulnerable communities in the Western Highlands.
The alliance builds on more than a year of close coordination and collaboration between the PRO-INNOVA and the Communities Leading Development project. So far, both projects have coinvested in the development of the macadamia value chain and are in the process of strengthening potato and coffee value chains, as well as other farmer groups in San Marcos, Huehuetenango, and Quetzaltenango. With this alliance, USAID funds are better leveraged as both organizations establish a mandate to create synergies that allow producers and agricultural organizations to better produce and sell their crops.
Some of the specific activities contemplated in the Memorandum of Understanding include: sharing of Community Development Plans (CDPs) in overlapping communities; joint investments in agricultural MSMEs through CRS’s private impact development fund; innovative provision of technical assistance through the Popoyán’s AgricConecta app; and sharing of information, best practices, and opportunities that will lead to strengthened agricultural value chains.
Rafael Merchan, Program Manager for Value Chains in CLD, said that “CRS has found in Popoyán an ally who shares a vision for a more prosperous agricultural sector in Guatemala. We look forward to continuing working together to increase farmers’ income through innovation, technical assistance, and financing”.
“This alliance is very important to us. Together we will make a larger impact for communities. I am sure that we will have much shared success”, said Germán González, when signing the Memorandum of Understanding.