Guatemala has made significant progress in achieving economic stability after decades of civil war but the country still struggles with high levels of poverty and inequality. Economic growth averaged 4.2 percent between 2004-2007; however, the global financial downturn reduced that growth to only 0.6 percent in 2009 (World Bank). A series of natural disasters in 2010 caused additional economic hardship when the country suffered losses totaling approximately 4.1 percent of the nation’s GDP. Recovery has been moderate, with GDP growth reaching 2.6 percent in 2010 and 2.8 percent in 2011 (World Bank).

While Guatemala was able to reduce poverty from 56 percent in 2000 to 51 percent in 2006, levels rose again to 53.7 percent in 2011 (World Bank). Among the indigenous population in rural areas, this percentage increases to 72 percent (UNICEF). Of the total population, 15 percent of Guatemalans live in extreme poverty (UNICEF).

Over half of the population (51 percent) lives in rural areas (UNICEF). Agriculture plays an important role in Guatemala’s economy, accounting for a fifth of the country’s GDP and 40 percent of employment (FAO). Mountainous terrain and dense forests leave little room for agriculture; a majority of farming takes place on steep slopes vulnerable to erosion. Slash-and-burn subsistence agriculture has also led to land and water degradation, decreasing agricultural productivity and compounding food insecurity. Chronic malnutrition affects 43.4 percent of children under five; this number reaches 80 percent for indigenous children (IFAD).

Agricultural Production
Agricultural Production2011201220132014
Rice Production
FAO 2014
30,381 MT31,135 MT32,051 MT33,244 MT
Wheat Production
FAO 2012
1,467 MT1,537 MT1,556 MT1,624 MT
Maize Production
FAO 2012
1,675,235 MT1,723,465 MT1,795,160 MT1,847,214 MT
Soybean Production
FAO 2013
37,000 MT37,000 MT38,000 MT38,000 MT
Agricultural Exports
Agricultural Exports2010201120122013
Rice Exports
FAO 2013
2,335 MT1,475 MT2,149 MT472.00 MT
Wheat Exports
FAO 2012
3.00 MT201.00 MT252.00 MT1,093 MT
Maize Exports
FAO 2013
7,265 MT16,355 MT3,527 MT8,786 MT
Soybean Exports
FAO 2012
203.00 MT41.00 MT75.00 MT1,016 MT
Agricultural Imports
Agricultural Imports2010201120122013
Rice Imports
FAO 2013
55,873 MT58,740 MT69,871 MT71,561 MT
Wheat Imports
FAO 2012
492,354 MT516,907 MT514,446 MT462,759 MT
Maize Imports
FAO 2010
630,100 MT709,924 MT692,693 MT689,013 MT
Soybean Imports
FAO 2013
3,813 MT13,733 MT15,097 MT12,807 MT