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ASPIRE explores opportunities and challenges in Cardamom and Snow Pea value chains


By: admin

On July 28 and August 1, the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) hosted two events as part of the ASPIRE project’s “Introduction to Participatory Design and Collaborative Mindset” workshop series. During these workshops, community representatives worked in teams  to identify and analyze challenges and opportunities in Guatemala’s cardamom and snow pea value chains. The results of the workshops will enable multi-stakeholder teams composed of people from the communities, UVG, and AGEXPORT to develop concept notes and later proposals for research projects to be funded by ASPIRE.  These projects, the first of which will be funded by the end of this year, are expected to generate practical findings that will help actors within the value chains gain more access to markets, resolve bottlenecks along the value chains, and/or introduce innovations where possible. Both workshops were facilitated by members of the ASPIRE team and Link4, a Guatemalan organization with significant experience in co-creation and community development.

In order to maximize the participation of community members, a priority stakeholder group for this project, the workshop for the cardamom value chain was conducted in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, and the snow pea value chain workshop was held at the UVG’s Altiplano Campus in Sololá, with participants  from Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez. A total 16 community members participated in both workshops. 100% of event participants identified with the Mayan ethnic group, 56% women and 44% men.

In the cardamom value chain, the challenges discussed included the management of fungi or diseases that affect the plant and its quality, and the need for education regarding better management practices. In the snow pea value chain, participants discussed and agreed that the challenge posed by the use of chemicals and pesticides can negatively affect food safety, and that the difficulty of complying with export market requirements also creates strain in their value chain.

UVG researchers will now use the results of these workshops to formulate their concept notes, and later, full applications, which will be reviewed and ultimately funded by the project.  Funded research projects will reflect ASPIRE’s values of participatory design and collaboration between academia, the private sector, and communities.

About the ASPIRE Project

The Achieving Sustainable Partnerships for Innovation, Research and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE) Project is a five-year, $15 million project funded by USAID and implemented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) and the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT). The goal of the project is to create a world-class, replicable model for how Latin American universities and their collaborators can respond to local and regional development needs. The project implements a collaborative approach to research, teaching, innovation, entrepreneurship and tech transfer, based on the combination of local assets and knowledge with MIT’s experience in the innovation ecosystem.



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