Masfrijol: Feed the Future Innovation for Collaboration Research on Grain Legumes

The Másfrijol project is directed and managed by the Legume Innovation Lab at Michigan State University.

Masfrijol Objectives

1. To substantially increase bean productiity by resource-poor smallholder farmers in the agro-ecologies of the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

2. To significantly improve the nutritional quality of family diets through increased consumption of beans in combination with other complementary nutritious vegetable and animal-source foods.

Target beneficiaries

Masfrijol will reach a minimum of 25,000 resource-poor smallholder households in approximately 200 communities located within the USAID Feed the Future target municipalities in five deparments within the Guatemalan Highlands with customized technologies and educational programs for low-education learners on bean productiviy and improved dietary practices.

Strategic Approach

Masfrijol will adopt the following strategic approaches to inform project planning and decision making and to enhance effectiveness, sustainability and long-term impact of component activities to be implemented in the highland communities.

1. Partnership with Public Sector institutions in Guatemala
The vision of the Legume Innovation Lab is to administer the Másfrijol project in partnership with strategic public sector institutions in Guatemala to effectively link and integrate agriculture productivity enhancing and nutrition education activities at the municipality and community levels

2. Collaboration with USAID FTF Implementing Partners in Guatemala
To ensure alignment with the USAID Mission to Guatemala’s programming under Feed the Future (FTF) and coordination of field activities for increased impact, MSU and its national partner institutions in Másfrijol will work closely with the Rural Value Chain Project (RVCP), Nutri-Salud, and Title II programs.

3. Consultations with Communities
These approaches will allow Másfrijol to understand unique aspects of these Mayan cultures and communities in order to mobilize community action as well as build community capacity for sustained agricultural innovation and development.

4. An Analysis to Pursue Gender-Integrated Approaches
In designing Másfrijol, the gender assessment component was based on one major question: how to facilitate the participation of men and women located in remote locations? The answer has been to make participant attendance less time, cost and transportation demanding by moving the training and dissemination activities closer to households through the use of mobile units.

5. Enhance Productivity of Traditional Milpa and Monoculture Cropping Systems
Technology packages will be identified and promoted that will sustainably enhance bean productivity in both traditional milpa and monoculture cropping systems.

6. Reach Farmers at Their Doorstep
Mobile multifunctional training units, e.g., four-wheel drive vans, staffed by trained technicians and equipped with audiovisual projectors, educational materials, and up-to-date bean and nutrition education technologies, will reach and engage people in remote communities. Másfrijol is adopting this strategy to make information and technology accessible to households in remote communities and to engage families at traditional points of social interaction, such as churches, markets, schools, and health clinics.

Summary of Másfrijol Expected Results

Project Objective

Indicative Activity

Expected Results

Increase bean productivity in highland systems

Participatory community needs assessments

200 communities (depending on population densities)

Almacenes Comunitarios

75 Almacenes

Farmers with access to improved bean seed varieties

25,000 households with access to improved bean seed varieties improving productivity

Enhance nutritional quality of diets

 

 

 

Improved technologies for household bean grain storage (PICS bag)

 

20,000 households with access to PICS technology

Nutrition education and promotion of nutritious bean-based dishes

12,000 households with access to nutrition education consuming more beans

Total beneficiary households

25,000