US-funded Projects Ease Drought for Farmers in Honduras’ Dry South

honduras farmersFor Honduras, a reliable water supply in the impoverished, dry south is the key to prosperity that keeps families together, stabilizes impoverished communities and gives its most capable people reason to stay in the region rather than move to cities or head north to the United States. “We have the land, but without water, we have nothing,” a Honduran farmer involved in the USAID-funded COSECHA project said.

Farming in Honduras’ dry south can be a daunting task, but with development of an efficient irrigation system with assistance from the U.S. government and Global Communities, small farmers are able to harvest more cycles of crops and raise their standard of living. The entire region’s economy benefits from turning around the annual drought.

No longer are the elderly and children left to tend the land. Qualified people can stay in the communities to run basic institutions such as schools and clinics, and provide basic services such as sanitation, water, and road maintenance. Although improved nutrition was not a goal of the project, the water supply also allows for crop diversification; adding melons, beans, and vegetables to the traditional staple of corn.

Global Communities worked with these farmers and other community members to construct ten reservoirs to hold water from the rainy season. During the normally fallow dry season, new drip irrigation systems now carry water to rows of crops. The small-scale water projects are cost effective, too. One hectare integrated with irrigation provides permanent work for five people, at an estimated cost of $15,000 for a 40,000 cubic-meter reservoir. The Honduran government plans to construct hundreds of these small water systems across the country.

The COSECHA water supply project is one of many lifesaving community-led projects global communities has carried out in Honduras over the past 30+ years. Global Communities is an international non-profit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable change that improves the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.