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Business strengthening in Honduras

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General Information 

Project type:
Training for productive and business strengthening

Crop:
Cacao

Location:
Dulce Nombre de Culmí and Catacamas, Olancho, Honduras

Implementation:
February 2014 to December 2016

Beneficiaries:
441 small producers (100 women) of 16 communities, of which 7 are indigenous Pech communities.

Associated organizations:
ICADE

Donor:
Heifer International

 

About the project

Promesa Cacao aimed to strengthen the cocoa chain in the Department of Olancho (Honduras) through production in agroforestry systems, as a sustainable development alternative that integrates social, cultural and traditional aspects to address the economic crisis and food security of the communities.

The project was designed to strengthen cocoa production on 478 hectares with the establishment of plantations using an agroforestry model, and to develop harvest, postharvest and industrialization capacity and skills.

In addition, 441 producers were trained in the development of a Knowledge Management strategy to strengthen the cocoa chain, and the social capital of the local organization Asociación de Productores de la Biosfera, Limitada (APROBIL) was strengthened in order to guide the organizational-business vision. In two years, the productivity of the plots tripled.

Cocoa production in Honduras was drastically reduced in 1998 due to an infestation of cacao moniliasis. The near disappearance of this crop seriously affected the livelihoods of more than 100,000 families.

The project’s area of action is characterized by inefficient use of natural resources, low production yields and deficiencies in harvest and postharvest management (absence of basic infrastructure).

Most of the beneficiary families in the area are engaged in the production of basic grains, the production of Musa species, or laboring in intensive wood processing. The productive activities in the area are mostly individual and the formation of local organizational structures is in its infancy.

In the market context, the cocoa supply is insufficient to meet the demand of buyers in Honduras and the trend is increasing, especially for premium quality product or cocoa from certified farms.

The development of the project included a lot of field work and the establishment of a close relationship with the communities.

An analysis of the cocoa value chain was carried out with the producers and Field Schools were set up to train them on topics such as the establishment and management of nurseries, laying out and establishing plantations, agronomic management, production of organic fertilizers, and harvest and post-harvest techniques.

The methodology included experience exchanges at national, international and local levels as part of the teaching-learning process. The entire process was accompanied by systematic monitoring to measure compliance with the targets and indicators.

 
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Outcomes

Promesa Cacao generated a change of attitude and aptitude in producers towards a new productive culture, with a greater level of organization in communities as well as families, integrating young people into the dynamics of both home and community.

It also allowed the recovery of deforested areas, water sources, and an increase in income that has improved family living conditions.

Some of the direct impacts generated by the project are:

  • Affiliation of 100 women as members of APROBIL. In total, the membership of the organization rose from 104 producers in 2014 to 441 at project end.
  • Establishment of APROBIL’s administrative accounting system and the implementation of a new taxpaying process.
  • Recovery of deforested areas through the establishment of 478 hectares of cacao in agroforestry systems.
  • Increase in productivity from 226.5 kilograms to 679.5 kilograms per hectare.
  • Improvements to the infrastructure of three collection centers for the production of quality cocoa.
  • Acquisition of technical capacities in producers for cacao agronomic management.
  • Initiation of cocoa marketing, which means a new source of income for the communities.
  • Involvement of young people and women as an important part of the generational change in the organizations, with a leading role in farm management and administration under a vision of sustainability and profitability.