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Fertile Guatemala Faces Starvation As Subsistence Crops Fail

Despite its status as “the world’s fifth largest exporter of sugar, coffee and bananas,” Guatemala “has the highest rate of child malnutrition in Latin America,” with “half of all children under five” reportedly malnourished, Agence France-Presse reports. In a phenomenon being called “green hunger,” the failure of subsistence crops because of droughts and floods over the last few years has forced families to buy “their basic staples of corn and beans and rice from local markets,” according to the news agency, which also published an accompanying video.

“[T]he purchasing power of the little money these communities have has been battered by both international food price fluctuations and local prices, which have been pumped up by domestic scarcity,” AFP reports, as “three quarters of the food produced here is exported to the international market.” The article also examines several programs attempting to fight food insecurity that some critics say have been hampered by a lack of political will (Bonello, 8/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.