Maria Esther Bucaro is a talented and connected leader with more than 20 years in Senior management level in local and international development multisectoral projects, financial, administrative, and personnel management. She has long experience successfully managing agricultural programs, with a particular focus on food security and commodity distribution, organizational development, rural agricultural development, economic growth, and extension system development. She currently serves as Counterpart’s Chief of Party for the $ 19.3 million USDA Food for Progress Project in Guatemala (2016-2023) covering Guatemala’s Dry Corridor and Western Highlands region. In this capacity, she is responsible for overall program and financial management, monitoring, and evaluation, and for providing organization development training to project staff and beneficiaries. In this role, she has amply demonstrated her strong capabilities to manage effective partnerships, achieve meaningful agricultural and food security impact for hundreds of producer organizations and tens of thousands of farmers, even while ensuring compliance with Counterpart and USG policies and regulation.
Her prior experience includes progressive roles managing USG-funded agricultural development programs for NGOs, universities, government, and the private sector. She has deep knowledge of the regional agricultural development context, particularly the horticulture and coffee value-chains. Her strong collaborative and productive relationships with USDA, the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA), and its National Rural Extension System (SNER) unit, NGOs, universities, and international research organizations have been the hallmark of her career. Ms. Bucaro has developed excellent working relations with Guatemalan government officials and other stakeholders at all levels, often brokering conversations between government stakeholders and USDA. She served on UC Davis/Zamorano’s Feed the Future Innovation Horticulture Lab Advisory Committee in 2013.
A native Guatemalan, Maria Esther is fluent in Spanish and English and holds a master’s degree in Economics and Agribusiness Administration from Texas A&M University-Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and a Food Science Engineer BS from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.