LAS FLORES, LEMPIRA. – The Vice President of Honduras, Samuel Reyes; WFP Representative, Miguel Barreto; the European Union Representative, Peter Versteeg, and the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Jacobo Regalado, opened a modern grain processing plant that will initially benefit some 1,186 small holder producers in the departments of Lempira and Copán.
This processing plant is located in the UNESSELL association of Las Flores community and will provide service to 12 organizations of small holder producers that have a joint productive capacity of 15,000 quintals of corn and 20,000 quintals of beans per year. The producers benefitting from the project are from the municipalities of Gracias, Las Flores, San Manuel de Colohete, Lepaera, and La Iguala in Lempira, and San Juan de Opoa, San Jose de Copan, Veracruz, Dolores, San Nicolas, Nueva Arcadia la Jigua and Florida in Copan.
UNESSELL belongs to the organizations benefitting from the Purchase for Progress project (P4P) of the World Food Programme (WFP), which promotes the increase in agricultural production and the sustainable access to reliable markets for small, low income agricultural producers, in order to guarantee their food security and improve their income and livelihood.
WFP has strengthened 23 organizations of small producers in six of the country’s departments, reaching more than 11,400 small producers. In UNESSELL’s case, it has invested 2.2 million lempiras (USD109,890) in strengthening it at a productive, organizational, managerial and financial level through a revolving fund that includes post-harvest equipment and infrastructure such as: a seed grader with a 52 quintals/hour capacity, a corn sheller with an 80 to 110 quintals/hour capacity, portable sack-sewing machines, moisture meters, and a continuous-flow vertical dryer with a 300 quintals per cycle (8 hour cycle) capacity and a metal hopper for dry grains with a 300 quintals capacity and a galley for the processing of grains.
WFP, through P4P, has invested approximately 3.8 million lempiras (more than USD189,800) in technological packages that include improved seeds, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides for the small producers of UNESSELL. The use of the technological packages for corn and bean, with technical assistance, has helped producers associated to the organization increase in a 90% to 120% their production rates for corn and bean, respectively.
Additionally, 130,000 lempiras (USD6,493) have been provided for investment on organizational strengthening through the minimum equipping of offices.
All this efforts have been reflected in the increasing commercial capacities of UNESSELL, establishing to this date, agreements for the purchase and sale of basic grains for 6,3 million lempiras (USD314,685), benefitting more than 1,186 families located in the departments of Lempira and Copan.
As part of the process of strengthening small holder producers participating in P4P, five grain processing centres (dryers) have been installed in different areas of the country thanks to an investment of more than 16 million lempiras (USD799,200). These were built by Honduran companies selected after a bidding process conducted by WFP and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which choose their location based on the extensive services they could provide to other producers in six of the country’s departments.
The grain processing plants are located in the following associations (the ones located in Comayagua and Yoro remain to be opened):
ASOPRANO (Salamá, Olancho) with a capacity of 900 quintals per cycle
UNIOPROL (Jamastrán, El Paraíso) with a capacity of 900 quintals per cycle
UNESSELL (Gracias, Lempira) with a capacity of 300 quintals per cycle.
UNIOYOL (Yoro, Yoro) with a capacity of 600 quintals per cycle.
Fuente de Vida (San Gerónimo, Comayagua) with a capacity of 300 quintals per cycle.
The processing plants have a capacity of up to three cycles per day and run on rice husks, coffee or saw dust as fuel, which saves money for the farmers. They have a drying capacity of approximately 270,000 quintals (12,273 metric tons).
As part of its grain diversification and commercialization strategy in Honduras, WFP has purchased directly from small holder farmers during 2010-2012 more than 440,000 quintals (22,000 metric tons) of corn and beans for the programmes it implements in Honduras, with its own funds and with government funds, including school meals, the support of vulnerable groups, the conditional transfers of food for agricultural development, education and health, and the emergency response and rehabilitation after natural disasters.
The investment in equipment, input, dryers, infrastructure and training made by P4P in the last years has been of more than 198 million lempiras (more than USD 9.8 million) thanks to the support of WFP, the European Union and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation.