USAID´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project is supporting hibiscus farmers in Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango to expand their business possibilities, encourage entrepreneurship, and improve their family economy.
Hibiscus is widely grown in Jacaltenango for its adaptability to the dry climate and its popularity as an ingredient for tea and cold drinks. Farmers in Jacaltenango traditionally sell dry hibiscus by the pound with no added value to the product.
In collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture Science and Technology (ICTA), CLD recently trained 15 farmers, mostly women, in new uses of hibiscus to expand their knowledge of added value hibiscus products. Farmers learned agro-industrial processing alternatives for the hibiscus to produce jam, liquid concentrate, tea bags, pies, and other product alternatives.
“I am proud because I´ve learned new ways to sell hibiscus. I am 50 years old, and this is the best learning experience I´ve ever had. I am motivated to go back to my community and start making new hibiscus products.” -Bella Luz Cano, during training in the ICTA Chimaltenango facility.
Farmers also learned about good manufacturing practices, food processing regulations, food safety, and equipment operation in ICTA´s processing plant.
“I learned to make liquid concentrate, jam, pies, and tea bags; this is all new for me. I did not know we could do all this with hibiscus, this is important because this means we can make other products from hibiscus with better prices and more profits and have extra income for our family. I am committed to teaching others in my community because we learned to make five new hibiscus products; this will mean more work opportunities for people” -Miriam Isabel Cano, during training in the ICTA Chimaltenango facility.
With this activity, USAID is building human capacity in hibiscus-producing communities to develop alternatives for marketable value-added products and bring better economic opportunities for families.
The initiative nurtures the development of entrepreneurship and competitiveness by building local human capacity, allowing men and women to have income-generating opportunities and lead development in their own communities.
“We traveled 10 hours from our community to this facility, but it is worth the effort. I have learned to add value to my hibiscus and not just sell it by the pound. I will go back to my community to share this knowledge with other women and apply the learnings. I did not know that hibiscus could be transformed into many other products” -Lidia Camposeco, a Hibiscus farmer, during training in the ICTA Chimaltenango facility.