The Guatemala sugary industry is a strong advocate for social development and plays an integral role in the country’s efforts to tackle social inequality and promote universal wellbeing. The opportunities and tools the industry provides its employees, their families, and their communities are creating more sustainable and inclusive citizens and societies, where social progress is possible for current and future generations.
Sugarcane cutters sign labor contracts that inform them of their rights and obligations. At the beginning of each harvest season, the industry trains cutters regarding safety at work, personal hygiene and financial responsibility. This effort promotes the social responsibility and sustainability of the population, as well as the local communities to which they return after the season.
Educational and professional programs for workers
The sugar industry takes a hands-on approach to expanding opportunities for lower income workers by offering educational and professional programs to sugarcane cutters during the harvest season. The cane cutters from the northern regions – who stay on the mills’ campuses during the harvest season – take advantage of the personal advancement trainings and classes offered.
The labor relationship between cane cutters and sugar mills is direct, subcontracting and intermediaries are not allowed. All have social security, benefits established by law and complementary services.
Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational Health and Safety is a top priority across the entire Guatemala sugar industry. It works towards greater wellbeing for its employees through the application of labor conditions designed to create a safe, healthy and productive workforce for everyone.
The industry strives to ensure a safe work environment and provides employees with additional services that go beyond the legal obligations, such as advocacy in public health, financial responsibility, training and education for personal advancement.
The Guatemala sugar industry is committed to fight hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles by promoting food security and improved nutrition for all.
As pioneers in the fortification of sugar with Vitamin A, Guatemala has become a role model in addressing nutritional needs of developing communities. The fortification of sugar with Vitamin A (and iron in some cases) is one of the primary ways in which this goal is fulfilled. Since the fortification of sugar began in 1986, the rates of childhood blindness have declined, and now it is no longer considered a public health problem in Guatemala.
The Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama approves and validates the fortification of sugar, and it reported it a “success story.”
In some areas sugar in Guatemala has now been fortified with iron to help tackle anemia in specific local populations. This experience facilitated fortification programs in Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador with similar public health challenges.
Fundazúcar was established in 1990 to invest in employees, their families and local communities to fuel long-term growth and prosperity. The Foundation and its integrated programs foster a relationship and create a direct link between the sugar businesses and the local communities where sugarcane is grown.
Fundazúcar programs are primarily designed for the people and communities indirectly involved in the sugar industry, such as women, children, local community leaders and educators, and its efforts have been crucial to the transformation of rural life in Guatemala as it relates to improved education, municipal development and health. However, with a significant number of workers from the north of the country, the programs were also implemented in the zones of origin of the collaborators.
By empowering women and girls, as well as providing access to quality education and learning opportunities, the community building efforts of the Guatemala sugar industry contribute to the reduction of inequality and promote social mobility.