TEGUCIGALPA – Gladys, 35, says her decision to start growing corn meant accepting a “great challenge.” For a start, growing corn is traditionally considered “man’s work”. In addition, farming in Eastern Honduras has considerable risks, from long dry summers to torrential rains and floods.
But Gladys didn’t let any of that get in her way. Like 80 other women farmers in the community of Santa Maria, she’s meeting the challenge with the help of the Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme. Launched on April 13, the project is providing Gladys with tools and training she can use to boost her corn harvest.
“With what I am able to produce on my two acres of land, I am able to support my parents and my son,” she said.
Purchase for Progress
Until now, small Honduran farmers have relied predominately on middle men known as “coyotes” to buy their produce. Cornered into accepting rock-bottom prices, they’ve had little incentive to grow any more than they need, a precarious situation that cements them in poverty and leaves them vulnerable to food shortages.
P4P helps to break the cycle by offering farmers fair market prices for their crops and providing them with the training and tools they need to grow more. WFP then uses that food to help other Hondurans in need, a win-win situation for everyone involved.
“My harvest has really improved with the training and supplies they gave us,” says Gladys. “With this support from P4P, I want to continue farming,” she said.
Following the April launch, P4P this year will help over 6,000 small Honduran farmers turn out bigger harvests of better quality food and command fairer prices for them on the market.
Working together with the Honduran government, NGO partners and with generous contributions from the European Union and the Howard Buffet Foundation, WFP hopes to expand the P4P programme to 11,300 small famers in Honduras by 2011.