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 Production2013201420152016
Rice Production
FAO 2016
32,246 MT33,616 MT32,826 MT33,747 MT
Wheat Production
FAO 2016
1,556 MT1,674 MT594.00 MT744.00 MT
Maize Production
FAO 2016
1,795,160 MT1,815,281 MT1,853,900 MT1,899,318 MT
Soybean Production
FAO 2016
38,000 MT38,000 MT38,000 MT38,000 MT
Agricultural Exports
Agricultural Exports2013201420152016
Rice Exports
FAO 2016
472.00 MT91.00 MT331.00 MT1,502 MT
Wheat Exports
FAO 2016
1,093 MT707.00 MT2.00 MT2.00 MT
Maize Exports
FAO 2016
8,786 MT2,689 MT8,085 MT6,407 MT
Soybean Exports
FAO 2016
1,016 MT25.00 MT16.00 MT33.00 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 2016
630,100 MT709,924 MT692,693 MT689,013 MT
Soybean Imports
FAO 2016
3,813 MT13,733 MT15,097 MT12,807 MT