The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), a state-run development aid body, has extended a helping hand to Mayan coffee farmers in Guatemala. The agency donated equipment to some 850 farmers in Central America in a project in cooperation with Strategies For International Development (SID), a U.S.-based non-profit organization working for development in Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru.
About 80 percent of the indigenous Mayan population lives in poverty and coffee farming is a significant source of income for Mayan farmers in the country's Alta Verapaz region. TİKA is the first foreign agency to deliver aid to the region. Community leaders representing the Mayan community were handed agricultural equipment in a ceremony in Tamahu, Alta Verapaz. Speaking at the ceremony, Maria Quej and Paulino Tipol who represent the coffee farmers said they live in an area far from cities and their access to humanitarian aid was limited, praising TİKA's efforts for fighting poverty in the region. Bayron Leal, the SID representative for Guatemala, said the equipment aid reached a larger population than the 850 farmers as it will help raise incomes of farmers' extended families as well.
The equipment will help farmers process harvested coffee berries and they will be able to earn more than just the sales of raw beans to exporters. Farmers expect a 75 percent increase in production and a 35 percent increase in profit margins.
TİKA, which evolved from a little-known state apparatus founded to help Central Asian countries to an international development agency, runs similar projects in Asia, Africa and the Americas promoting sustainable development.