In Central American countries, SMEs and farmers form the backbone of the economy. As they are being subjected to increasing international competition, they must improve their competitiveness and in so doing secure their productivity for the long term. Global climate change is an additional threat with which they must contend. The countries of Central America are among the most severely affected by climate change.
New market opportunities through efficient production in Honduras
Global Affairs Canada’s “Rural Market Opportunities in the Gulf of Fonseca” project helps SMEs and farmers to work and produce more efficiently. This opens up new domestic and international market opportunities. On a state level, harmonised economic development plans and the creation of a more favourable economic enabling environment will help ensure project success.
The World Bank’s “Food Security” project also focuses on the Honduran section of the dry corridor between Costa Rica and Guatemala. Access to water, diversified production of food staples, improved farming methods, and the resultant increases in harvests improve food security for families living in extreme poverty, in particular women and children.
The goal of the recently launched and EU-financed “PROGRESA” project is to reduce poverty among SME farmers and agricultural workers. This is achieved in no small measure by productivity increases, strengthening of farmer organisations and the introduction of geographic information systems (GIS), which ensure traceability within the coffee, high-value cocoa, and cashew nut value chains.
These multi-year project interventions in Honduras also support economic empowerment of women and environmental protection components.
Improving quality of life within small family businesses
SDC’s territorial economic development project in Nicaragua is focusing on improving the quality of life for small family businesses in the Segovia region (PRODET). Collaborating closely with the presiding Ministry, Swisscontact is advising the Nicaraguan government in planning and implementation of activities as well as impact assessment. The project is promoting collaboration, facilitating skills transfer between the various institutions, and introducing state-of-the-art impact assessment and evaluation tools.