Global Communities and USAID Partner to Develop Irrigation Systems for Small Farmers in Honduras

October 14, 2014, Silver Spring, MD – Global Communities announced today that they have been awarded $979,434 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop irrigation systems for smallholder farmers in Honduras. The grant, which will study the effect of rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation on the livelihoods of subsistence farmers, will help develop best practices to ensure future programs can be successfully scaled up. Global Communities’ previous work on water harvesting in Honduras has received both the Actions in Water and Climate Change Adaptation Prize from the Americas Climate Change Dialogue and The National Environmental Award from the Honduran Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Honduras
One of the seven reservoirs constructed by Global Communities in Honduras under the previous water harvesting project. 

The three year research project, known as the Cosecha Project, will build ten new reservoirs and use a randomized control trial with two treatment groups drawn for a sample of 600 households. The project will measure the cost effectiveness and impacts of water harvesting and improved agricultural practices compared to improved agricultural practices alone and a control group who will apply traditional farming practices. These trials will help assess the impact of water harvesting on crop yields, farm profits, poverty, gender inequality, and environmental outcomes.

“Global Communities is proud to continue its award-winning work on irrigation in Honduras,” said Brian Husler, Honduras Country Director for Global Communities. “This partnership with USAID won’t just help improve the livelihoods of the small farmers we are partnering with; it will help us develop innovative new methods that can scale up and transform the lives of communities throughout the region.” Without irrigation, farmers in Honduras produce only one crop per year which can fail due to erratic rainfall or drought, significantly reducing yields and increasing food insecurity. The region is also particularly vulnerable to climate change, with projections predicting hotter temperatures, less annual rainfall, and prolonged drought. As such, lack of irrigation is a major threat to the long term sustainability of food production. Previous efforts to address this challenge have resulted in large-scale projects with high upfront costs that ultimately proved difficult to manage. As a result, many countries and the donor community have been reluctant to invest in irrigation. By performing randomized trials to assess effectiveness, the Cosecha Project will help develop best practices that are more sustainable and cost effective for both beneficiaries and donors.

ABOUT USAID’S DEVELOPMENT INNOVATION VENTURES
USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an investment platform that finds, tests, and scales new solutions to development challenges around the world. Through a year-round open competition for ideas, DIV seeks ideas that demonstrate cost-effectiveness relative to traditional approaches, gather rigorous evidence of impacts, and have the potential to scale through the public or private sector without long-term DIV support. For further information about DIV, please visit www.usaid.gov/div