Soy in Guatemala - ADIBE - Asociacion Desarrollo Integral de Belen
ADIBE is a non-profit community-owned association dedicated to improving the lives of people living in Molino Belen. ADIBE manages the soy production facility that was established by the community and Plenty in 1979, which has been in operation for over 30 years.
Molino Belen, San Bartolo, Solola is located in the highlands of Guatemala (above 7,200 ft. altitude). This is one of the first rural Mayan villages where Plenty helped residents access clean, gravity fed water supplies in 1979.
Construction of the village water system made it possible for the people of Molino Belen, with help from Plenty and funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and UNICEF, to construct a facility to produce good quality soy foods.
Since 1980, Plenty has supported the efforts of the people in Molino Belen to
improve operations of their community owned soy foods processing center (ongoing)
provide post-hurricane relief aid in the Department of Solola (2005-2007)
repair and equip a school, post-hurricane (2005-2006)
help more children attend school through provision of "becas" or tuitions for books, clothing, and writing materials
organize soy food processing and nutrition education workshops for families and organizations, and
secure the purchase of land used by young people and adults for public recreation (2009-2010).
The Molino Belen soy center produces
soy ice cream
pinole (toasted corn and soy cereal drink mix)
soy flour and other products
The products are distributed locally, and for sale to retailers in several large towns.
Over the years, the soy center has provided employment and educational opportunities for local residents, and improved family access to nutrient rich, low cost foods.
Community leaders and residents of Molino Belen have also used income derived from the soy center to:
double their village water supply
supplement the food and nutrition needs of undernourished children
contribute funding to several other village based projects
support regional relief efforts through production and distribution of fresh soy foods to hurricane and drought affected families.
Molino Belen's soy center is managed by ADIBE (Asociación Desarrollo Integral de Molino Belen) a non-profit, community-owned association dedicated to improving the lives of people living in Molino Belen, and greater Solola. The community, through its Comité or council, designated ADIBE to administrate and manage the soy foods processing facility.
Plenty continues to provide technical support to ADIBE, when requested, and is working in cooperation with ADIBE to develop local supplies of organic non-gmo soybeans (2011-2012).
(photo) Soy foods specialist Chuck Haren (center), soy author Louise Hagler (left, center), and Plenty director Lisa Wartinger (right), with the directors of ADIBE, celebrate 30 years of operation.
In July 2008 ADIBE participated in a national competition for small rural producers.
Out of 180 participating organizations, they were one of the final 12 selected, and received an award of 45,000 quetzales or about $6,000.
Since January of 2009, with inputs from Helvetas, government agencies and Plenty, ADIBE has:
added a new water filtration system
constructed new buildings for production of dry products and bakery foods
increased sales, and...
expanded their product line to include skin care and hair shampoo using the whey remaining from the tofu making process.
As a community project and practical way to help address local food security and employment needs, the ADIBE managed soy center was given formal recognition from the Ambassador of Taiwan and numerous government and non-governmental organizations in November of 2009.
Edyn Chalcu (top middle in mask) leads a tour
of the soy processing operation.
A five year plan is underway to expand production and employment opportunities, and increase access to nutritious, low cost soy foods and related products for people in Solola and greater Guatemala.
The soy center has made a qualitative difference in the lives of multiple generations, and is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by dedicated community efforts and international support.
Making tofu in Guatemala produced in 1990 by Douglas Stevenson, one of the original volunteers who helped build the facility in 1979-1980.
e video does not illustrate newer improvements and technological upgrades to the soy production process at ADIBE.