Most producers in the Departments of El Paraíso, Valle and Choluteca do not manage to make their businesses successful, due principally to exploitation, inadequate harvesting practices and poor knowledge of the market.
Fino de aroma cocoa is an alternative crop for coffee growers in El Paraiso, where 51,200 hectares of coffee plantations supply 20% of the country's total crop. Furthermore, there is an unsatisfied demand for cocoa in the domestic and international markets; this also applies to cashews, which have economic and environmental potential for the south of the country.
The general aim of PROGRESA is to help to reduce poverty and uncertain food supply for small and medium-sized producers and agricultural workers by improving the competitiveness of the coffee, cocoa and cashew supply chains in the Departments of El Paraíso, Choluteca and Valle, while encouraging socio-economic inclusion and equality for 10,200 producers and 16,000 employees of small and medium-sized companies.
The project concentrates on improving management of the value chains for coffee, cocoa and cashews through an inclusive public-private dialogue aimed at reducing the risks and increasing the benefits to producers. To achieve this, 200 leaders and 71 organisations will be given training in new business models that will be established with domestic and international purchasers and that will encourage compliance with economic, social and environmental standards, thus reducing commercial and financial risk for producers and grass-roots organisations; as well as stimulate investment from the private and public sectors and financial institutions.
The project also facilitates access to innovative gender-considerate services (financial services such as leasing, reciprocal guarantees, insurance and non-financial services) and profitable, climate-aware farming practices such as soil and water management, nutrition, forestry and genetic adaptations. PROGRESA maximises the replication and adoption of good practices through knowledge generation, communication and learning based on evidence gathered from monitoring, impact evaluation and participatory reflection.