Honduras: WFP and TechnoServe Partner in a USAID Project

The WFP Representative, Pasqualina DiSirio, the Economic Adviser of the United States of America Embassy, Mike Taylor, the President of TechnoServe, Lord Tim McLellan, and the TechnoServe Director for Honduras, Ricardo Gonzalez, signed a cooperation agreement of between World Food Programme (WFP) and TechnoServe.

TEGUCIGALPA. - This agreement will focus on supporting the initiative target "Feed the Future" promoted by Barak Obama, President of the United States. The United Nations World Food Programme has joined and is in full support of the programme.

The most important stipulations within the agreement made between WFP / TechnoServe includes:

•    The implementation of a plan for the selection and validation of different varieties of beans and corn with higher nutritional value, which will resist climate change and be suitable for uplands. This will improve the income of farmers who live in extreme poverty, and subsequently aid in the fight against malnutrition in the region.

•   A collaboration between the two institutions to promote the production of high quality beans that meets the standards required by the WFP-P4P. The plan is to supply the legumes for the School Meals and other programmes implemented by WFP in Honduras.

•    The creation of a production laboratory of inoculants to increase yields in beans and other legumes.
It is expected that through the partnership between WFP and TechnoServe, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture of the United States (USDA), a comprehensive program of substantiation and distribution of improved varieties of beans and corn could be developed. This will improve nutritional levels, provide better crops, and higher income to rural families that are at high risk of food insecurity. At the same time, it would make a validation of 5 varieties of beans, with higher nutritional value, resilience to climate change and higher performance, and of 2 varieties of high-yielding corn for cultivation in highlands.

Hands holding healthy corn vs poorly grown corn

"It is important for the Government of the United States to support the work that the World Food Programme and Technoserve will undertake, since they will provide technical assistance to small farmers who need it most. It serves as an opportunity for these farmers to partner with two organizations that develop and implement crucial programmes, which will undoubtedly benefit them.  It is an honor for the American Embassy and the Department of Agriculture of the United States to be part of this project "said the Economic Counselor of the Embassy of the United States, Mike Taylor.

To this day, the partnership has made possible 50 bean seed banks of small farmers. These farmers are assisted by the Sustainable Agricultural Improvement Project formed by USDA / TechnoServe. The Sustainable Agricultural Improvement Project works to connect and build contacts between organizations that work with farmers who harvest basic grains, which are supported by the Purchase for Progress program of WFP. The Sustainable Agricultural Improvement Project has assisted many farmers during the first growing season of a variety of high quality bean seeds. These beans have been produced in coordination with the standards of WFP-P4P, to be used for the school lunch program.

WFP Representative, Pasqualina Di Sirio, emphasized the importance of this partnership. "This is recognition of the work that we have been doing through the P4P project. WFP currently supports over 11, 500 small producers, who are provided with technical support to improve their production. Through this collaboration more assistance and action has been developed and implemented with the help of the Embassy of the United States and Secretary of Agriculture. Both parties have been very involved and have given us invaluable support throughout this process.” 

Among the activities promoted by the partnership are: the promotion of the production of certified seeds, business matchmaking between seed banks and grain producer cooperatives for the supply of certified bean seeds at reasonable prices (50% cheaper than the equivalent price of seed available on the market). The number of seed banks in the country has quadrupled and the availability of high quality certified seed has doubled. According to the partnership’s work plan, these processes that have been successful from the start are expected to continue to be more prosperous in the next year of implementation. It is estimated that more than 3,000 small farmers will benefit. This plan has been developed in the departments that have the higher production of basic grains in the country, for the most part which are corn and beans.