Guatemalan Officials Visit LTC for Training

Madison, WI, 14 August 2000 -- The Land Tenure Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will host the "Land Access in the Fight Against Poverty" workshop from August 21-24. The goal is to design ways to provide credit to rural people in Guatemala so they can buy farmland and escape conditions of extreme poverty.

A group of high-level government officials and policymakers from Guatemala will attend. The President of Guatemala has charged this group with creating policies for using a newly created Land Fund in order to help alleviate rural poverty. It is hoped that extending credit to potential farmers will provide employment for many thousands of people in the countryside whose lives were disrupted by constant civil war. Many people in the country have never had a chance to own land. The Land Fund is one result of the 1996 Peace Accords, which ended 36 years of civil war in the country.

Land Tenure Center experts, along with other University of Wisconsin professors and researchers, will work with the Guatemalans on developing the skills needed for creating effective ways of using the Land Fund. Models from other countries will be used in order to find the elements that could make the Guatemalan effort a success.

The Land Tenure Center was chosen as the host of this workshop based in its nearly 40 continuous years of work on land matters globally. Latin America was the original focus of the Center upon its founding in 1962. Over the years the Center has worked in nearly 20 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

The Guatemalan officials are economists, agronomists, and lawyers holding posts in the Government. The workshop will focus on the critical role land plays in a country's economic development. The Land Fund was established through a loan from the United States Agency for International Development.