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Global Food Aid: Latin America and Caribbean

July 15, 2020 | Food Security
Global Food Security 13

Alaska Seafood works as well in food aid and development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean as it does in Africa and Asia. Alaska canned salmon has successfully been included in rural programs in Guatemala, Bolivia and Jamaica to help reduce child malnutrition and support development activities within the region. These Food for Progress programs turned to nutrient-rich canned salmon to improve the nutritional content of their food aid baskets. Through these activities, over 500,000 new consumers were reached.


In Bolivia, food aid programs designed to address child malnutrition, improve household food availability and incomes were integrated with health, education, water and sanitation programs. As an adjunct to these activities, school meals were being targeted for improvement. The Alaska Global Food Aid Program provided Alaska canned salmon to Salesian Missions for their school lunches through a pilot project in Don Bosco Public Schools in Bolivia.

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In Jamaica, fish is an integral part of the diet and salmon is an alternative to the local catch. Food for the Poor was so pleased with the Alaska canned salmon in Guatemala that it included the product in its Rural Economic Agriculture Program (REAP). REAP provided take-home rations of salmon which integrated well into the local cuisine. In addition to its great taste, salmon delivers health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, especially important for Jamaicans to counter the growing trend of high blood pressure and heart disease in the adult population. As a part of REAP, farmers receive technical assistance and food aid commodities to supplement their diets while they develop marketing opportunities to sell their agricultural produce in local markets. The food aid baskets spared the farmers’ resources while they built productivity and assets to sustain them once the program ended.

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Guatemala has some of the lowest health and nutrition indicators in Central America. Food for the Poor sought to partner with the Alaska Global Food Aid Program to try out canned salmon and follow-up programming in its McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program. Salmon proved to be an ideal addition to existing food aid commodities and local diets of the recipients while providing them with a concentrated source of marine protein and energy. They particularly liked the salmon paired with tortillas.

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World Help also partnered with the Alaska Global Food Aid Program in Zacapa, Guatemala, to test Alaska canned herring and seafood powder as a way to improve their food rations. Our team conducted focus groups with local staff and participant mothers about the acceptability and uses of both Alaska canned herring and seafood powder. Discussions of the palatability of the products yielded positive results. We provided information on the seafood products with strong supporting evidence on the nutritional benefits of consuming fish regularly. We conducted cooking demonstrations, recipes then developed and creatively executed by participants using local ingredients and spices. The dishes were colorful, delicious and enhanced the flavor of the fish products.