Monday, July 2, 2012

IFAD: Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty in Honduras

"IFAD’s strategy in Honduras is consistent with the country’s poverty reduction strategy. Its two main objectives are to improve on-farm and off-farm income-generating opportunities for poor rural people, with special attention to women; and to strengthen the organizational capacities and bargaining power of rural organizations."

One in a series of looks at development efforts in Honduras.
The Republic of Honduras is the second-poorest country in Central America. It is a lower middle-income country with persistent poverty and inequality challenges and a per-capita income of about US$1,880 in 2010. Although the government has achieved a degree of economic stability since 2000, progress has not resulted in improved living conditions or reduced poverty for the country’s huge proportion of poor people. It ranks 121 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 Human Development Index – a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide.
The country’s population of approximately 8 million people is divided evenly between urban and rural areas. However, poverty is essentially a rural problem. Poverty in the country affects 60 per cent of the population, while 36 per cent live under extreme poverty conditions. In rural areas, these figures rise to 63 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively.
Poverty is prevalent in central hillside areas in the interior highlands of Honduras, which are home to about 75 per cent of the rural population, including indigenous groups. The highest concentration of rural poverty is found in the western region, which also has the greatest concentration of extreme poverty. Lack of access to land and basic services, a vulnerable environment and low agricultural productivity are among the problems at the root of poverty in the country. A lack of employment opportunities in rural areas has been a major driving force behind the country’s high level of emigration.
About 28 per cent of the country is agricultural land, and the agricultural sector employs about 39 per cent of the population. Most of the agricultural area is dedicated to the production of low-profit crops such as bananas, plantains, rice, maize and beans. In the hillside regions, where small-scale farmers produce basic grains, slopes are often steep and difficult to cultivate. This type of terrain is also extremely vulnerable to erosion and much of it has become severely degraded. Productivity has decreased as a result.
Read more here.

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