Areas in Central America known as ‘dry corridors’ face climate risk of drought, excessive rains and severe flooding. Dry corridors exist in regions of Guatemala and Honduras and the local communities and small holder farmers residing there are vulnerable due to the adverse climatic conditions.
These areas have irregular rainfall and are marked by dry seasons, which lead to water scarcity for people and their crops. The areas are known to be fragile and prone to natural hazards and climate change, which destabilizes the production of basic grains and adversely affects food security and the nutritional situation of the local population.
Towards a Solution
To allow for greater resilience in the face of climate change, provide support to increase the nutritional status of crops, and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers living in the dry corridors of Guatemala and Honduras, WFP facilitated a South-South cooperation project with the Government of Chile to address the above challenge.
The initiative was based on the experience of previous successful exchanges among Chile, Guatemala, and Honduras, and ongoing WFP operations in the region. This project was a Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative which used South-South modalities to transfer technical knowledge from Chile to Guatemala and Honduras.
Through this project, the Government of Chile helped the Governments of Guatemala and Honduras to promote production and consumption of bio-fortified crops, strengthen the capacity of small-scale farmers, increase their agricultural surpluses, strengthen local markets, and improve the nutrition of their entire families.
This South-South cooperation initiative among Chile, Guatemala, and Honduras, is directly linked to the achievement of SDG 2. Experts from the Chilean Institute for Agricultural Development (INDAP) were the technical counterparts of this South-South exchange. The programme was built on Chilean experts’ proven experience of working with bio-fortified crops, smallholder farmers, their families and indigenous organizations.
The team of Chilean experts offered ongoing technical support during the project’s two years through field missions and workshops on soil conservation, climate change, production of organic fertilizer, water harvest, nutrition, gender and marketing strategies.
The methodology used under the initiative included:
- Support missions and technical assistance provided by the experts from Chile;
- Training provided to community leaders and organizational and operational capacity- building;
- Exchanges of knowledge and best practices through participatory workshops and development of support material such as nutrition manuals and toolkits; and
- Alliances with universities and academic centres to allow for the active participation of students from the region.
The key elements which helped to achieve the objectives under this initiative included active participation of various stakeholders at the central and local levels, accurate selection of small producer organizations, identification of relevant objectives in accordance with the local realities and using the communities’ knowledge and capacities. The initiative’s significant achievements in both Guatemala and Honduras include:
- Guatemala: all of the small producers (selected as part of this project) have adopted the consumption and production of bio-fortified crops. Overall production of the producer organizations has increased and they now have access to technical assistance and training on nutrition and the preparation of recipes using bio- fortified foods. The project has also contributed to the creation of local organization networks for food security;
- Honduras: local producers have access to technical assistance for implementing good agricultural practices. All the project families have adopted bio-fortified crops and reported improvements in food consumption and diet diversity. The project has also increased the number of smallholder farmer associations with legal knowledge, the number of women participating, and involvement in the processes of the local markets. In addition, measurements were taken to evaluate nutritional status indicators. A significant decrease in moderate chronic, severe chronic and acute chronic malnutrition has been observed.
With the help of this initiative, two of the key outcomes achieved include: crop production and diet diversification; and promotion of a gender equity policy within the associations to increase participation of women in the social and community environment.
The innovative aspects of this South-South exchange and the support of local NGOs contributed to the success of the project, as the activities were coordinated with those associations to support the marketing.
In terms of long-run sustainability, considerable progress has been made in both Guatemala and Honduras. In Honduras, new agreements were developed between the cooperatives of small holder farmers (CACs) and municipal bodies, which could contribute to the already existing management capacity and legal personality of the CACs. There have also been collaborative alliances with partners such as the National Autonomous University of Honduras. In Guatemala, a Network of Organizations for Food Security (OPAs) was created.
The concrete results achieved during the project have increased motivation and interest among governments, communities, partners and WFP to continue complementary actions in similar areas and scale up this experience to other regions. However, the following must be considered before proposing the project in another developing country: a minimum level of ‘organized’ farmers must be involved to ensure replicability in other regions and countries; and the national government must agree to, and technical academies must support, the introduction of bio-fortified grains.
Sustainable Development Goal target(s): 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4
Countries/ territories involved: Chile, Guatemala, Honduras
Supported by: Government of Chile (through the Chilean Agency for International Development Cooperation – AGCID and the Institute of Agricultural Development – INDAP).
Implementing entities: Government of Guatemala: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA), Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA); Government of Honduras: Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG), Directorate of Agricultural Science and Technology (DICTA) and WFP.
Project status: Completed
Project period: 2016-2017
URL of the practice: goo.gl/47cqzp; goo.gl/dRW2Vx
- Mr. Camilo Luco, Chilean Agency for International Cooperation, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Carla Melillo, INDAP Chile, email@example.com
- Ms. Carola Kenngott, South-South Cooperation Focal Point, WFP, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Maria Pino, WFP Regional Office for Latin America, email@example.com
- Ms. Irma Palma, WFP Guatemala, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Francisco Salinas, WFP Honduras, francisco.salinas@wfp. org