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USAID and Mercy Corps Expand Impact of Alliance to Help Guatemalan Farmers Earn More, Improve Nutrition



  USAID and Mercy Corps Expand Impact of Alliance to Help Guatemalan Farmers
  Earn More, Improve Nutrition

  New funding from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and Hanns R. Neumann
   Stiftung  expands successful four-year program by reaching rural coffee
                  producers in Western Highland departments

Business Wire

PORTLAND, Ore. -- December 10, 2012

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the global
humanitarian agency Mercy Corps are pleased to announce the addition of Green
Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS)  in
an alliance to improve the lives of small-scale farmers and their families in
Guatemala. The alliance, known as the Inclusive Market Alliance for Rural
Entrepreneurs (IMARE), is part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future
Presidential Initiative that supports Guatemala’s “Zero Hunger Pact” to
significantly reduce the high rates of poverty and chronic malnutrition that
characterize the Western Highland region of the country.

The public-private alliance supports community-based interventions that allow
rural agriculture producers to overcome barriers and access larger commercial
markets. Evidence demonstrates that this support enables small scale farmers
to increase their household food and nutritional security.

“We have seen the power of this alliance create tremendous opportunities for
small-scale farmers to become productive and prosperous entrepreneurs,” said
Peter Loach, Mercy Corps Country Director for Guatemala. “We are thrilled to
be able to expand this project to now meet the needs of vulnerable coffee
producers and their families in the region.”

According to a United Nations World Food Program study, Guatemala has the
highest rate of chronic malnutrition in Latin America and the fourth highest
in the world. Rural small-scale farmers in Guatemala face multiple obstacles
to access profitable markets for their products and often lack the tools and
knowledge to improve their family’s nutrition. This alliance uses a
multi-pronged approach that not only tackles rural poverty but also raises
community awareness around the importance of a diversified diet and good
nutrition practices.

“GMCR is a believer in the power of public-private partnerships and their
ability to enlist needed resources to overcome some of the developing world’s
greatest challenges. We are pleased to join USAID in supporting this Mercy
Corps project in Guatemala that seeks to provide small-scale coffee farmers
with better market access as they attempt to diversify their sources of
income,” said Rick Peyser, GMCR’s Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain
Community Outreach.

The three-year grant from GMCR will expand the alliance to work with 500
coffee farming families to improve nutrition as well as agricultural
production and business management techniques. Farmers will participate in
tailored educational sessions on safe handling of pesticides, use of new
varieties, seed spacing, water and social conservation, and best practices for
storage and handling. They will also receive training and technical assistance
in nutrition, climate change and gender balance as a best practice.

GMCR’s financial support also helps leverage matching funds from USAID’s
Global Development Alliance for public-private partnerships. According to Mark
Visocky, Director of the Office of Economic Growth at USAID Guatemala, “the
alliance with GMCR brings substantial resources to bear in Guatemala for the
Feed the Future Initiative and brings us all closer to the goal of reducing
chronic malnutrition and poverty in the Western Highlands. USAID Guatemala
welcomes and encourages new alliances with the private sector to assist the
people of the Western Highlands escape the cycle of poverty and malnutrition
that has plagued the region for decades.”

Mercy Corps will also work in close coordination with HRNS, an expert
implementer in the coffee value chain, to improve the principal livelihood
activity of coffee farmers in an efficient and sustainable way. Through
matching funds from HRNS the alliance will support an additional 300
coffee-producing families to improve production, natural resource management,
and economic returns in their coffee systems. Trainings aim to provide the
tools necessary to help farmers increase profitable sales and lift themselves
out of poverty.

“Coffee makes up a significant share of family income in these communities,”
says Verena Fischersworring from HRNS. Her colleague Mauro García adds
“Improving the returns to coffee farming – especially in combination with
improved on-farm food production and household nutrition – thus forms an
essential component of any strategy to improve food security.”

Since 2008, USAID and Mercy Corps have supported rural, poor and subsistence
farmers to compete in the larger commercial markets for fresh fruits and
vegetables. In the past, USAID and Mercy Corps have partnered with Wal-Mart
and Vibrant Villages as well as other private sector entities, which benefited
1,800 farmers in one of the poorest areas of Central America. Through this
alliance, nearly 900 new jobs were created and a strong foundation was built
for women to contribute to their households and communities. Of the new jobs
created during the program’s first three years, 25% were held by women. After
the first three years, producer groups increased their net earnings by an
average of 59% and boosted their sales to formal markets by $1.2 million.

About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR)

As a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, Green Mountain Coffee
Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is recognized for its award-winning coffees,
innovative brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices.
GMCR supports local and global communities by offsetting 100% of its direct
greenhouse gas emissions, investing in sustainably-grown coffee, and
allocating a portion of its pre-tax profits to socially and environmentally
responsible initiatives.

About Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS)

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS)  is a not-for-profit foundation based in
Hamburg, Germany that was founded by the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) and the
Neumann family, one of the largest coffee trading companies in the world. HRNS
is an implementing foundation that partners with private coffee and cocoa
companies and donor institutions to implement sustainable economic development
projects to benefit smallholder coffee and cocoa producers. HRNS currently
implements 24 projects in 14 different countries that reach upwards of 100,000
coffee and cocoa farmers and their families.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities
they deserve. Driven by local needs, our programs provide communities in the
world’s toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform
their own lives. Our worldwide team in 41countries is improving the lives of
19 million people. For more information, see mercycorps.org.

About USAID

Since 1961, the United States Agency for International Development has
provided economic and humanitarian assistance through its development programs
in every region of the world and currently works with government, private
sector and civil society in more than 80 countries around the world. See:
www.usaid.gov for more information on our programs and development partners.

Contact:

Mercy Corps
Lindsay Murphy, 503-896-5700
lmurphy@mercycorps.org
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