Heifer provides training and technical support for farmers to boost yields of quality, reliable products for high-value markets.
A family of five living in Honduras needs an annual income of approximately $4,400 to meet their basic needs – food, shelter, education and health care. But the average income in the regions of Choluteca, Copán, Santa Bárbara and Olancho is only $2,350 a year.
Leveraging Success, a 5-year project that runs until 2022, will help close the income gap by working with small and medium enterprises in the coffee, dairy, honey and tourism sectors.
The project will reach 24,500 families by working closely with 300 enterprises and farmer associations. Coffee, dairy and honey farmers are receiving expert support to boost their yields to deliver quality, reliable products for high-value markets.
We have set up 70 farmer field schools that provide training and technical support to farmers. In groups led by local experts, farmers learn how to improve their yields using techniques that protect local resources and the environment. Dairy farmers that are part of Leveraging Success have increased production from 2.5 bottles of milk per day to 8.
We are also working with local women beekeepers as they build their businesses and increase the bee population. Honeybees are critical to our food supply and the environment, and the population is shrinking rapidly: it declined by over 40 percent between April 2018 and April 2019. One group started with just 20 beehives but now has 360, producing prize-winning honey. Their aim is to continue to expand to 1,400 hives by 2021.
To add value to their core product and ensure they are able to continue raising bees, the women are opening a beekeeping store selling wax sheets, bee boxes, and other supplies for raising bees. They are also saving their money with a view to building a honey processing plant so they can export to markets in Canada.
In the honey sector alone, Leveraging Success has helped to generate nearly 8,000 permanent and temporary beekeeping jobs.
Accessible, inclusive markets are important for closing the living income gap and making sure that producers can continue to sell their products once Leveraging Success has ended. Connecting producers with partners in the tourism sector such as restaurants and their suppliers, helps generate demand for goods and services with communities, while offering additional income-generating opportunities.
As they scale up their businesses and enter the formal economy, producers need access to financial capital. Leveraging Success connects them to financing partners that provide credit at affordable rates and mobilizes partnerships between farmers and supermarkets, government agencies, universities and the tourism industry.
The project also supports farmers and their cooperatives to take part in local, national and international conferences and trade fairs to learn new ways of improving their products and make new sales contacts.