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Honduras: WFP Regional Director Inaugurates a Fifth Grain Processing Plant

WFP Regional Director, Gemmo Lodesani, WFP Representative in Honduras, Miguel Barreto, European Union Representative, Peter Versteeg, and Agriculture Minister, James Reglado, inaugurated today a modern grain processing plant that will initially benefit 667 small producers from the department of Yoro, of which 29% are women from seven farmers’ organizations.

EL MEDIO YORO -The processing plant will be managed by the UNIOYOL Farmers Association, which is located in the town of El Medio, municipality of Yoro. It will provide services to 36 small local organizations that have a combined production capacity of 61 million pounds of maize and 13 million pounds of beans per year.

The producer beneficiaries are from the municipalities of Sulaco, Yoro, and Yorito; all of which are from the department of Yoro.

UNIOYOL is an organization that participates in the Purchase for Progress programme (P4P) of the World Food Program (WFP). It promotes increased agricultural production and sustainable access to reliable markets for small producers from low-income farms, in order to ensure food security and improve their incomes and livelihoods.

Through P4P, WFP has strengthened 23 smallholder organizations in six regions of the country, benefiting more than 11,400 smallholders. With UNIOYOL, WFP has invested 251,725 dollars to strengthen the organization at the production, organizational, managerial, and financial levels; through a revolving fund that includes equipment and harvest infrastructure such as:  grain a sorter capable of 52qq/hour, maize sheller capable of 80-110 qq/hour, bag sealing machines, moisture meters, a vertical continuous flow dryer with 600qq capacity per cycle (8 hour cycles), a metal hopper for dry grain with 300qq capacity, and a storage silo which can hold up to 5,000 quintals.

WFP has also invested around 143,138 dollars in technological packages for UNIOYOL which include fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, and other seed improvement technologies. The use of the technology packages for maize and beans, including technical assistance, has helped most producers associated with the organization to increase their production of maize and beans by 100% and 120%, respectively.

In addition, WFP has invested 6,416 dollars in organizational strengthening by buying office equipment.

These efforts have been reflected in UNIOYOL’s growing commercial capabilities. The purchase and sale agreements for basic grains add up to a total of US $557,745, benefiting over 667 families within the department of Yoro.

As part of the process to improve small producers' associations, five grains processing centers (dryers) have been installed under P4P in different areas of the country and US $826,069 have been invested. Local companies that built the dryers were selected after a bidding process conducted by WFP and IICA. They technically defined each location so that comprehensive services would be provided to other producers from the six departments.

The grain processing plants are located within the following associations, not including the new plants that are expected in Comayagua and Yoro:

ASOPRANO (Salama, Olancho) capacity of 900 quintals per cycle
UNIOPROL (Jamastrán, Paradise) capacity of 900 quintals per cycle
UNESSELL (Gracias, Lempira) capacity of 300 quintals per cycle.
UNIOYOL (Yoro, Yoro) capacity of 600 quintals per cycle
Fuente de Vida (San Geronimo, Comayagua) capacity of 300 quintals per cycle.

The processors are able to make three daily cycles and work with chasuble rice, coffee, or sawdust as fuel material; making them very inexpensive with a monthly drying capacity of about 54 million pounds or 2,454 metric tons.

As part of the diversification of grains and marketing strategies in Honduras, WFP has acquired over 22,000 metric tons (440 million pounds) of maize and beans from 2010-2012, directly from smallholder Honduran farmers. It will be used for the programmes WFP implements in the country. With owned funds and government funds these programmes include school meals, support for vulnerable groups, conditional food transfers for agricultural development, education and health, and emergency response and rehabilitation after natural disasters.

Investment in equipment, supplies, dryers, infrastructure, and training by the Purchase for Progress (P4P) project in recent years has been over US$9.7 with the support from WFP, the European Union and the Howard Buffet Foundation of the United States.