Wal-Mart Helps Farmers Grow, American Style

But Central American stores may ruin them first, critics say
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 9, 2008 6:00 PM CDT
Wal-Mart employs Latin American farmers to link local produce to their large retail chain.    (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Wal-Mart is helping Central American farmers even as the chain threatens to render their mom-and-pop ways outdated, the Los Angeles Times reports. Thousands of small farmers are financially at risk, unable to grow produce that fits the US giant's supply chain—so Wal-Mart, Washington, and a Portland, Ore., relief group have kicked in more than $2 million to help.

The program will show 600 farmers in Guatemala how to grow greens that look good and are needed on retail shelves. Fueling the drive is Wal-Mart's 457 Central American stores, which increasingly draw shoppers away from local sellers. But some critics fear for the farmers: "The change is happening so fast that a lot of them aren't going to be able to keep up," one agronomist said.