The Green Gold of Guatemala

When you think of Guatemalan agriculture I bet you imagine fields of corn and beans, coffee and cacao trees, and tropical fruit trees. Would you believe that this country is also famous for producing some of the world’s best cardamom, known as the ‘green gold’ of Guatemala.

Often interwoven with coffee plants, the crop native to India was first brought over to Guatemala by German coffee planters after the first World War.

In 1980 Guatemala surpassed India in worldwide production of cardamom, currently making Guatemala the world's largest producer and exporter of cardamom, with a large proportion of it exported to the Middle East. After saffron and vanilla, cardamom is the third most expensive spice by weight.

Cardamom is the fourth largest agricultural export product of Guatemala by value. Local consumption of the spice is negligible and therefore supports the exportation of the majority of cardamom that is produced in country.