Friday, May 8, 2015

Working With Rabbit Producers in Guatemala

This post was written by F2F Volunteer Robert Spencer from the field in Guatemala.
I have volunteered internationally since 2006, worked in Haiti, El Salvador, Myanmar, and now Guatemala.  April 26, 2015 began my first visit to this beautiful country work with advancing quality of meat rabbit production to improve nutrition in Guatemala.  Partners of the Americas (a USAID program generously funded by the American people) was my sponsor, and Institution of Nutrition for Central America and Panama (INCAP) and Seeds for the Future (SftF) were my gracious in-country hosts. It appears the staff of INCAP and Seeds for the Future have done an outstanding job of educating and motivating participating farmers to do the best possible with available resources, while tracking qualitative data that is already providing impressive reporting. 
I flew into Guatemala City on Sunday, had an introductory meeting with INCAP the next day, and then was whisked off to Chocola’ to work with farmers for five days of and my primary reason for being here and a little bit of fun and food.  Chocola’ is about three hours northwest of Guatemala City, a relaxing rural area that faces many economic challenges including limited revenue generating opportunities for women and their families. 

During the time spent in Chocola’ and surrounding areas I was part of 7 workshops, 3 meetings, 3 interactive sessions, and 17 local farm tours. The objective of this assignment is to strengthen the capacities of technical field staff and participating families in the SAN project, by addressing practical strategies for production, and consumption of rabbit meat.  At the same time participants received education on nutritional and culinary aspects of rabbit meat.  The majority of farms were observed to be conducting quality meat rabbit production; the more novice producers had varying degrees of opportunity for improvement. Based upon verbal interaction the benefit for those who have been raising rabbits for more than six months was great satisfaction and increased nutrition.  

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