From Day Laborers to Aquaculturists
El Tabacal is a relatively young community that, when founded, had 48 indigenous families severely affected by the 4-year Guatemalan Civil War. These families had been displaced from their homes and had relocated to El Tabacal after the war.
Families in El Tabacal used to struggle with self-sustainment. People depended on external day laboring jobs for their livelihood. Unfortunately, most residents only earned half of what they needed to survive.
In 2020, we funded a commercial tilapia fish farm for eight partner families. We built five ponds and equipped the farm with aeration devices, seine reels, and handling equipment. We started the project with 25,000 tilapias and added 17,500 tilapias in 2021 to meet the high demand for the product.
We helped advertise their aquaculture business and developed distribution channels:
- Sale of live fish to regional retailers
- Delivery of fresh fish in coolers to wholesalers with access to global markets
- Direct from the farm and local markets
We reinvested the proceeds from the sale of tilapia in the eight partner families, plus daily wages were extended to community workers. As the business grew, more families joined as wholesale and retail employees in 2021.