Health professionals are trained with the “Health Comes First” program of Fundazucar

Health professionals are trained thanks to Fundazúcar's “Health Comes First” program

More than 437 health professionals from 65 health posts and health centers on the South of Guatemala are trained with the “Health Comes First” program of the Sugar Foundation -Fundazucar- in alliance with the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance with the aim of promoting health preventive in the communities.

Since 2016 Fundazucar, in alliance with the Ministry of Health, has promoted the innovative program “Health Comes First”, which trains public health workers to develop technical skills and an attitude of service.

In addition, joint prevention actions are carried out against COVID-19 and vector-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and / or chinkunguya through the education and training of human resources in the health sector and in the communities of the South of Guatemala.

Some of the actions that have been carried out as part of the “Health Comes First” program are:

  • Delivery of the Protocol “Plan for the prevention, containment and response to cases of COVID-19” from the Ministry of Health to 65 health services of the South of Guatemala.
  • Trainings for 500 health professionals distributed in 12 face-to-face and / or virtual training workshops on the COVID-19 protocol of the Ministry of Health and preventive health promotion, with an emphasis on the “1,000-day window” and diseases caused by vectors such as Zika, Dengue and Chinkunguya; with 93% attendance.
  • Technical support to health professionals for the use and updating of epidemiological data analysis, with the aim of developing a culture of analysis of the information produced for making timely decisions.
  • Nine deliveries of Personal Protective Equipment -EPP- to 917 health workers in the priority area of the South of Guatemala to protect health workers on the first line of attention to COVID-19.
  • Participation of the Fundazucar team in 70 Nutritional Brigades for the active search for children with Acute Malnutrition, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Secretary of Food and Nutritional Security in 10 municipalities of 4 departments of the South of Guatemala.

“The Guatemalan Sugar Industry promotes the development and well-being of the communities through a responsible operation and the execution of social programs aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals -SDG-“, affirmed Maria Silvia Pineda, Sustainability Manager of -Asazgua- and director of Fundazucar.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry works hard on Soil conservation practices

practicas de conservacion de suelos

Soil conservation are practices to stop or avoid erosion, conserve the soil, and improve its fertility and productivity and the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is committed to enforce such measures.

The Guatemalan Center for Research and Training of Sugarcane -Cengicaña- published in 1994 the first study of soils in the sugarcane zone and since 2012, it has been working on the subject with the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC- for the development and implementation of practices for the conservation and sustainable use of soils.

Among the practices are:

  • Soil analysis: this is the basic tool to know the properties of the soil and the availability of nutrients and physical and chemical characteristics which are analyzed by sampling the areas, the region’s climate, sun radiation, thermal amplitude, topography, inclination, and risks of erosion among others.
  • Soil conservation structures and use of vegetation are implemented on the sides of the roads.
  • The protection of wetlands, forest areas and natural water courses is promoted.
  • Sowing the appropriate sugarcane that best adapts to each soil, based on its agronomic characteristics, resistance to pests and adaptation to climatic variations.
  • Sugarcane cultivation is renewed every 5 years to maintain its yield, therefore, in some suitable areas this renewal is used to nourish the soil through the Green Fertilizer program of the sugar industry.

Sustainable practices to maintain soil fertility

The application of nutrients is vital to maintain the fertility of the soils and derived from the analysis of the fields, the strategies for their use are determined, among which are:

 Use of green fertilizer

Crotalaria flowerThe Green Fertilizer program of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is an ecological measure of planting legume plants that provide the soil with nitrogen and thus avoid the use of commercial products. When legumes are mixed with the soil, they provide organic matter that improves the texture and structure of the soil and promotes the development of microorganisms that are beneficial for crops.

Use of organic fertilizers

Organic matter improves the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil, favoring a greater availability of nutrients for plants and improving the health of the soil in general.

In the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, significant amounts of organic waste are generated as by-products that have high agronomic value, including filter mud, ash, and vinasse.

    • Filter mud is a residue from the manufacture of sugar and provides the soil with phosphorus, calcium, and nitrogen, among others. It is estimated that each harvest produces more than 750,000 tons of this residue that is used to nourish fields.
    • Vinasse is a liquid residue from the distillation of alcohol and is mainly made up of water, organic matter and minerals that benefit the soil.
    • The ash, mixed with filter cake, is beneficial for soils with acidic Ph.

Rainwater harvesting

Acequia y pozo de filtracion

Rainwater is captured in ditches and wells; this is an agronomic practice that contributes to the recharge of groundwater. This agronomic practice is responsible for the environment, contributes to the recharge of groundwater, to mitigate the erosion of the soil by precipitation and to avoid floods.


Guatemala Sugar Industry ForestThe Guatemalan Sugar Industry has 2,507 hectares of natural forests, which are protected and cared for. The reforestation and conservation of forests on the banks of rivers help to recharge water, to conserve soils by avoiding erosion and are also natural barriers that prevent floods and serve as home to species of flora and fauna.

Soil preparation

The soil is prepared for sowing: the objective of this practice is to prepare a good soil base for the optimal development of the plantation.

    • In sandy soils there is minimal tillage to avoid impact on the natural conditions of the soil.
    • In addition, there are minimum tillage or conservation practices to preserve the soil.

Strip cultivation

Crotalaria abono verdeIt is done during each crop renewal, they plant lines with green crops such as legumes alternating with lines of sugar cane, that is done in renewal batches.

The legume incorporates nitrogen and reduces soil erosion caused by water, wind and to make more efficient use of land.

Level curves

Information from drones or satellite images is used to determine the topography or relief of the area so that crops are planted at the same height above sea level.

Rainwater has an easier time seeping into the ground to prevent erosion.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry delivered 7,336 personal protection equipment for health workers

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry delivered 7,336 kits with personal protective equipment for health workers

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry supports the efforts of health workers who are on the front line in the fight against COVID-19 and, through its Sugar Foundation, has delivered supplies to 65 health services and 26 municipalities from the South of Guatemala.

Since the beginning of the pandemic until August 2021, 7,336 kits with personal protection equipment have been delivered to 917 health workers, totaling: 29,344 KN95 masks, 22,008 pairs of gloves, 14,672 gowns, and 7,336 face shields.

In that period, 818 gallons of antibacterial gel and 1,908 gallons of alcohol were also delivered to health services.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry delivered 7,336 kits with personal protective equipment for health workersSimilarly, since the health emergency began, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has supported the local governments with 21,452 surgical masks and 2,059 gallons of glycerinated alcohol to distribute among users and servers in 44 markets and public squares on the South of the country.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry, in addition to this support, has promoted and supported projects focused on finding solutions to face the pandemic through Fundazucar, its social arm. It has also promoted vaccination and supported efforts to raise awareness to implement COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures.

The carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar is one of the lowest internationally

The carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar is one of the lowest internationally

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry, committed to the sustainable management of the environment and the mitigation of climate change, has made efforts in its production processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; as a result, the carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar is one of the lowest internationally.

The carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar for the 2019-2020 harvest was estimated at 0.33kg of CO2eq for each kilogram of sugar produced, which is among the lowest in relation to others worldwide, according to the Emissions Inventory Study of Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Footprint of Guatemalan Sugar by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-.

ICC experts carried out an inventory of emissions generated by the burning of sugarcane biomass in the field, use of nitrogen fertilizers and other fertilizers and agricultural inputs, change of use and land cover, use of fuels for agricultural and transport activities, generation of electricity for internal consumption, consumption of electrical energy from the national interconnected system, inputs for industrial processes and industrial wastewater.

The result of this balance, between what we emit, fix, and avoid is the carbon footprint. Guatemalan Sugar has a footprint of “0.33kg CO2eq / kg sugar” (0.33 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of sugar), it is a very small footprint compared to other foods and to other sugar-producing countries in the world.

For example, our carbon footprint is lower than that of producers in the United States, the European Union, Thailand, and the United Kingdom, among others. This means that the Guatemalan Sugar production process is more environmentally friendly.

Guatemalan Sugar gallery forests

It is important to mention that there are activities that generate emissions, but there are also activities that reduce or avoid them; for example, when cane grows, it absorbs or stores CO2 from the environment, which it needs to grow. The Guatemalan Sugar Industry also has natural forests that store 1,415,638 tons of CO2 equivalent.

Likewise, the generation of energy with the bagasse or biomass of the cane prevents up to 4 million tons of CO2 from reaching the environment per year, since it uses a renewable resource and not fossil fuels such as mineral coal. In the Zafra season, the Sugar Industry supplies around 30% of the energy that the country uses, this renewable energy.

The sugarcane crops in Guatemala use 47% less water compared with the rest of the world

water footprint

As part of the commitment to the rational use of water, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has adopted several measures that allow them to be more efficient and sustainable with the environment, as a result, each ton of sugarcane produced in Guatemala uses 47% less water than the cane produced at world level.

The water footprint of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is 47% lower than the global average, according to a study prepared by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-.

According to this study, the country’s meteorological conditions have made it possible for rain to contribute 73% of the water footprint of the crop during the 2019-2020 harvest, and the irrigation water used represented only 21% of the water footprint.

In addition, Cengicaña experts have developed a mobile application to optimize the use of irrigation water in sugarcane called Cengiriegos, which allows only the water it needs to be applied to the plant.

Likewise, in the industrial process, the Sugar Industry has also invested to optimize the use of the vital liquid, an example of this is that the water used in the sugar manufacturing process is reused repeatedly and for this there are specialized towers that receive the water used to make sugar, cool it and then return it to the factory, in a recirculation process.

cooling systems

Chefs from seaside village in Guatemala are trained to boost economy and tourism

Chefs from Monterrico are trained for the economic reactivation of the tourist area

Monterrico, a seaside village located 148 kilometers (92 miles) South from Guatemala City, is located on the Pacific Ocean coast of Guatemala, and is popular with national and foreign tourists for its volcanic sand beaches and the annual influx of sea turtles.

This village is one of four that the Guatemalan Sugar Industry supports to boost economy and tourism with the the diplomaed: Gastronomic Diversification through Fundazucar, in alliance with the Ministry of Economy -Mineco- and the Municipality of Taxisco, Santa Rosa.

Chefs from Monterrico are trained for the economic reactivation of the tourist area

The training was completed by 37 chefs and cooks from 10 hotels and 6 restaurants in the town who completed 20 hours of theoretical-practical training, where they learned innovative recipes based on seafood from the region.

Chefs and cooks will continue their training at the Technical Institute for Training and Productivity -Intecap- with a scholarship for the Diplomaed “Sea Cuisine” granted by the Sugar Foundation as part of the inter-institutional alliance, which promotes a strategy for the promotion local economic.

The objective of the training program is to support economic reactivation by offering added value to tourists through the processing and transformation of products from artisanal fishing, as well as to acquire knowledge in good manufacturing practices, cold chain management and marketing of the finished product.

Chefs from Monterrico are trained for the economic reactivation of the tourist area

IADB allies with the Guatemalan Sugar Industry to prevent chronic child malnutrition

better families program

The Inter-American Development Bank -IADB-  signed an alliance with the Sugar Foundation -Fundazucar- of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry for the execution of the SPOON program (Sustaining Program for Improving Nutrition) that seeks to prevent chronic malnutrition and reduce the risks of future obesity in children from 0 to 24 months of age living in areas of high poverty in Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Better families program

In Guatemala, the SPOON initiative was implemented in the department of Baja Verapaz, located 150 kilometers (93 miles) north from the Capital, in the context of “Better Families” program of Fundazucar because it shares the same objectives and is an innovative self-management model driven by women that promotes behavior change to improve Safety Nutritional Food.

The program ended in May 2021 with a duration of 24 months and the participation of 604 women from 39 communities of the 8 municipalities of Baja Verapaz. These women successfully completed the training for behavior change in the programmatic axes of: Self-esteem, Health and Nutrition, Responsible Motherhood and Fatherhood, and Reproductive Health.

The Sugar Foundation has worked with more than 532,000 women who have been empowered and trained in food security and development for their family and community. This program is executed through alliances with authorities and institutions and, in this case, with social investors who relied on field experience to develop effective behavior change strategies.

Better families SPOON

The positive results and success stories of the Better Families program of the Sugar Foundation – Fundazucar- has led to the implementation by social investors: companies, foundations, and international organizations, to prevent chronic child malnutrition.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is certified as an Authorized Economic Operator


The Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua- was certified as an Authorized Economic Operator of Guatemala -AEO- in the activity of Exporter by the Guatemalan Superintendency of Tax Administration -SAT-.

This accreditation reinforces compliance with international safety standards and obligations in current legislation on the export of sugar. In addition, operational and administrative procedures of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry with the SAT will be more agile and it may be recognized as an AEO by the customs services of other countries that have similar programs with which a mutual recognition agreement has been signed.

Guatemala is one of the 16 countries in Latin America, North America and the Caribbean Region that have implemented the figure of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO). AEOs are individual or legal persons that are considered reliable and safe economic operators by Customs Authorities because they comply with international security standards, as well as the norms, requirements and obligations established in current customs legislation.

Vista aerea de Expogranel Guatemala

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ends the 2020/2021 Zafra, driven by a Guatemalan sugarcane variety

End of zafra 2020-2021 in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ended the suar cane harvest and sugar production season driven by the CG02-163 sugarcane variety developed by scientists from the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training in Sugar Cane -Cengicaña-; this is a high-yield cane, resistant to diseases and adapted to climate variability.

The CG02-163 sugarcane variety leads the Guatemalan Sugar IndustryThe CG02-163 sugarcane variety, currently occupying the largest planted area in the country, has a yield ranging from 11.5 to 12.5 tons of sugar per cultivated hectare. This variety produces an average of 1.4 tons more per hectare than the second-place variety CP72-2086, which comes from Canal Point in Florida, United States.

This contributed to the production for the 2020/2021 harvest being 55,758,979 quintals of sugar or 2,564,901 metric tons of sugar, with a cultivated area of 253 thousand hectares. This harvest was challenging due to the conditions presented by the pandemic and all the biosanitary measures were taken for the prevention of COVID-19, both in the workplace and in the communities of the South of Guatemala.

“Research and development is a fundamental pillar for the Sugar Industry, it has contributed to improve efficiency each harvest and has allowed us to be more competitive worldwide. The development of cane varieties is one of the great contributions of the research center, until this year we have developed, through the natural crossing of plants, 33 Guatemalan cane varieties that are more productive, resistant to pests and climate change”, commented Luis Miguel Paiz, general manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Renewable energy cogeneration

As part of the research, sugarcane residues are also used to produce alcohol and the generation of renewable energy and during the 2020/2021 harvest, cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country, reaching peaks in some days that reached 46%.

Renewable energy produce with sugarcane biomassIn that period, the Sugar Industry generated 1,844 (GWh) gigawatt-hours of renewable energy to deliver to the grid; the equivalent of 2 times the consumption of all the Municipal Electric Companies of Guatemala for 1 year.

Zafra is development for Guatemala

The zafra begins in November and ends in May of the following year and, for the South of Guatemala, it is a season of economic reactivation since it generates more than 54 thousand direct jobs and the hiring of more than 6,325 suppliers, large, medium and small of products and services, who also become employers and multiply opportunities for the local population. The sugar sector generates more than 270 thousand indirect jobs each year.

Production of Guatemalan SugarThe sugar mills associated with Asazgua operate under a strict labor and environmental policy and distribute each year around US$402 million in wages and salaries, in addition to providing complementary health services to their collaborators. In a study prepared by Asazgua, the economic footprint or spill of sugar in Guatemala is more than US$ 1,188 million and reaches 90% of the country’s municipalities.

Guatemala has one of the most efficient sugar shipping terminals in the world

Expogranel, Guatemalan Sugar shipping terminal

Expogranel, located in Puerto Quetzal, is the specialized terminal for handling and shipping bulk sugar in Guatemala, which has positioned as one of the most efficient terminals in the world.

With a system of conveyor belts, shipping cranes and hydraulic bridges, the terminal can receive up to 800 metric tons of sugar per hour and fill a bulk ship at a rate of 2,000 metric tons of bulk sugar per hour on average.

Almacen de azucar en ExpogranelThe hydraulic bridges, sugar launchers, automatic samplers, conveyor belt system, shipping cranes, among others, were designed and manufactured in Guatemala with the support of the Sugar Industry.

Similarly, the bag terminal has an efficient operation that allows it to operate 10 trucks per hour to fill containers with bags of sugar. This design, specialized equipment and professional staff have made Expogranel a fundamental piece for the growth and competitiveness of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry.

The terminal has a capacity to store 58,000 metric tons of sugar in bags.

Before Expogranel existed, a ship of 35 thousand metric tons was loaded in 30 days and today it is done in an average of 18 hours. And it has a sugar shipping capacity of more than 3,500 tons in bags per day.

In addition, the Expogranel laboratory stands out for the reliability and impartiality of its results accredited with the international standard ISO 17025 and the specialization it possesses.