The Guatemalan Exporters’ Association (AGEXPORT) welcomed 90 small and medium companies as they became the newest members of the institution and the first group of rural entrepreneurs. These SMEs work hard to develop agricultural products as well as tourism services and handcrafted goods. The welcoming event gathered members of AGEXPORT’s directory board as well as the Guatemala Country Manager of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. John A. Beed.
For more than 15 years, AGEXPORT developed a model to generate economic development by integrating local communities to value chains, with help from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and rural agricultural, handcrafts and tourism businesses. Through this model, small agriculture families were linked to cooperatives and other associations and were included as part of the ‘export chain’.
Jointly with USAID, the Guatemalan government, cooperation agencies and the private sector worked to develop small and medium enterprises in rural areas, benefiting more than 35,000 families with sales of over US$80 million by including them as suppliers of other exporting firms. As a result, we are pleased to welcome 90 rural SMEs that are now joining AGEXPORT as our first group of ‘rural exporting entrepreneurs’, said AGEXPORT’s president Mr. Antonio Malouf.
With these 90 new members, AGEXPORT opened a new section of its institutional structure called ‘rural SMEs’, with companies from rural areas of Totonicapan, Jalapa, Quetzaltenango, Peten, Quiche and Chiquimula, among others.
We are very proud as this is the result of several years of hard work along with rural entrepreneurs that export their goods and services through other exporting firms. Now, as full members of AGEXPORT they would directly benefit from different services offered by our institution, such as advisory, training and access to different markets. That way, we would be able to keep generating employment opportunities in rural Guatemala and contribute to the development of our country with actions that seek to reduce poverty, said Mr. Ivan Buitron, director of AGEXPORT’s Development Division.
Among other key results, these ‘rural SMEs’ have developed a wide range of export-quality products both for national and international markets, fulfilling the highest requirements in terms of food safety and phytosanitary measures.
For us, it is a pleasure to join AGEXPORT as new members of the institution. Working side-by-side with other companies, farmers and exporting firms has been a key step to develop our communities and we expect to keep with this alliance, as it allows us to work nowadays with 13 exporting firms to take our hand-made goods internationally. Additionally, we have four buyers in Europe and the United States, said Mr. Erick Boror, representative of ‘Red Juven’ in Totonicapan, one of the new members of AGEXPORT.