Annual Report 2018

At Semilla Nueva, we're fighting malnutrition with better corn

The Problem

We cannot solve global poverty without solving malnutrition. Malnutrition impacts all areas of life, leading to increased rates of sickness & disease, decreased school attendance, and lower future incomes and economic instability.

Malnutrition keeps children from reaching their full potential and has devastating effects on communities. In Guatemala, 47% of all children are chronically malnourished. Despite billions of dollars spent, Guatemala has the sixth highest rate of malnutrition in the world.

It's really hard to get people to eat new foods.

In Guatemala, corn makes up 50% of the average diet. It’s been eaten for thousands of years and is the cheapest and easiest food to grow.

Instead of changing culture, we embrace it— by making what families already eat more nutritious.

Our Solution: Better Corn.

We produce and sell (non-GMO) corn seeds that have 2.5 times the quality protein and 38.9% more zinc, addressing key nutritional deficiencies found in grain dependent diets. Most importantly, our seeds give farmers larger harvests at lower costs— driving adoption based on what farmers care about most.

2018 showed us that our model works.

We finished our first year of sales, selling the world’s first high quality protein, high zinc corn seed.

Biofortified Seed Influencers

Along with our sales, we partner with farmer cooperatives to plant, harvest, and sell biofortified corn. In 2018, we signed up two new cooperatives to receive technical assistance and basic seed from Semilla Nueva.

Understanding Our Impact in Guatemala

In 2018, Semilla Nueva made its biggest investment in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to date. We hired a skilled M&E coordinator to pilot new surveys and laid the foundation to build a nutritional model to better predict health impacts based on our seed sales.

Looking Toward the Future

Throughout the year, we laid the groundwork to strengthen our seed brand and address malnutrition on a larger scale in Guatemala.

Semilla Nueva's Financial Overview

Letter from the Executive Director

2018 was a pivotal year for us. We launched the sale of our biofortified corn seed and we completely sold out within weeks. Nearly 2,000 families planted our corn, feeding and improving the nutrition of up to 97,400 people.

2018 proved that our model works, and we laid the groundwork to scale our impact for the years to come. We invested in infrastructure to test and launch higher yielding seeds. We also expanded our seed production staff to ensure that more bags are available to farmers, and ultimately get us closer to financial sustainability.

We invested in marketing surveys to understand product strengths and weaknesses and to develop strategies to aggressively grow sales. We also made our biggest investment in impact evaluation to date, so we can more accurately predict how much seed we need to sell in order to improve the national diet in Guatemala.

Semilla Nueva is transitioning into a phase where the core components of the social enterprise are coming into place. From there, we’ll continue to build upon our foundation to get better seeds on the market and have more farmers buying, planting, and harvesting our corn. This is all to ensure that more nutritious corn reaches families throughout Guatemala, improving diets and tackling malnutrition at scale.

We’re settling our feet deeper into what we do and getting better at it at a very quick pace— a change we’re proud to have achieved. We thank you all for your support, guidance, and friendship— without which we wouldn’t be here.

Curt Bowen, Founder & Executive Director

Thank You!


Inter-American Foundation · Swiss Re Foundation · Cartier Philanthropy · Mulago Foundation · Harbourton Foundation · Miracles in Action · Carson Foundation · Conservation Food and Health · One Day’s Wages · Rotary International · Light a Single Candle Foundation · International Foundation · Guatemala Hope

Major Donors

$10,000 - $25,000

The Smith Family

$5,000 - $9,999

Glenn & Marlys Haughie · John & Jan Wilcynski

$1,000 - $4,999

Juan Hompart · Michael Sieler & Cory Brestler · Daniel Scott · Kevin & Pam Storms · William English

$500 - $999

Kevin Frisz & Vanessa Trail · Andrew & Kristin Gunther · Thomas & Sally Halbach · James Bowen · Stephen Roof · Guido & Elizabeth Binda · Marv & Laurie Henberg · Susan & Peter Lodal · Daniel Russell · Patricia Wai-Fu Lu · Teresa Vail · Keith Andrews · John & Pam Lodal

Board of Directors

John Lodal · Keith Andrews · Michael Sieler · Dawn Hickman · Michele Hubbard · Jerry Brady · Michael Summers

Photo Credit: Sarah Caroline Müller

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.