TEGUCIGALPA. -WFP Representative, Pasqualina Di Sirio, visited the communities of Ojo de Agua and El Naranjo in the municipality Jesus de Otoro, Intibuca, which is one of the municipalities most affected by the Coffee Rust in this department.
“In these municipalities, 60 small holder farmers were affected, of which 45 lost their entire harvest, more than 50 hectares of coffee were lost,” said Roger Obed Pineda, President of the Rural Board of Ojo de Agua. “This means we won’t have income and won’t be able to create jobs for coffee pickers, which will translate into unemployment and a poor economy,” he said.
Currently 30 small producers receive support through WFP’s Food-for-Work activities, enabling them to restore their farm lands and livelihoods by clearing fields, building nurseries, planting, making holes, and more.
The WFP food arrived at critical time when families affected by the Coffee Rust had just ran out of food reserves, said Mario Crisanto Lopez Torres, President of the Rural Board from El Naranjo. “Families have no income because there are no jobs in the coffee plantations. However, this food allows us to work, rehabilitate our farmlands, and ensures that our families will have something to eat.”
Coffee farmers Joaquin Meza is thankful that through this food assistance he has prepared a nursery with more than 20.000 coffee seedlings. “Before receiving this help we thought that we would have no other choice but to sell part of the land in order to rehabilitate our farms,”, he said. “But we are happy because with this food we can rehabilitate our farmlands and plant alternative crops until we can start producing coffee again.”
WFP signed a partnership agreement with the Association of Honduran Coffee Producers (AHPROCAFE) and the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) to assist some 8,362 families (41,810 people) living in 61 municipalities in the departments of Comayagua, Copan, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Intibuca, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, and Yoro through the Food-for-Work activities, which promote the rehabilitation of the crops affected by the Coffee Rust.
These 8,362 families represent 20% of the coffee producers from the most vulnerable municipalities. They will receive more than 1,254 metric tons of food, which has an estimated cost of more than US$1.3 million.