The Millennium Challenge Account-Honduras Invests 122 Million Dollars in the Comayagua Valley
The United States Ambassador visits investment sites and shares experiences with Project beneficiaries.
Ajuterique, Comayagua.- His Excellency, Mr. Hugo Llorens, the United States Ambassador to Honduras, visited three of the Millennium Challenge Account-Honduras Projects currently in progress in the Comayagua Valley. The visit included inspection of projects related to the paving works of the road Comayagua-Ajuterique-La Paz, the improvement of the rural road from Lo de Reina to El Pacón, and the plantations of three beneficiaries of the Farmers Training and Development Activity (MCA-H-FTDA).
The Millennium Challenge Account-Honduras (MCA-Honduras) has invested more than 122 million dollars in the Comayagua Valley, a zone in Central Honduras considered strategic due to its location, geographic conditions, fertile land and the good disposition of its people.
Ambassador Llorens observing the map of MCA-Honduras investments in the Comayagua Valley.
The paving of the road Comayagua-Ajuterique-La Paz has brought reductions in travel time and costs.
Ambassador Llorens visited two farms receiving technical assistance from MCA-H/FTDA in the Comayagua Valley.
Martin Ochoa, MCA-Honduras General Director, with José Adán Ordóñez, an FTDA program farmer.
The land in this valley is being utilized for high value crops and for other associated agribusinesses. Paving of the road Comayagua-Ajuterique-La Paz will facilitate access to Highway CA-5 for 1,020 men and women producers participating in the FTDA program, who are having reduced the distance from their farms to the main port facilities in the country. Here, there are about 18 firms dedicated to cultivate more than 5,000 hectares with export products such as sweet pepper, sweet potato, jalapeño pepper and oriental vegetables, which represents shipments of almost 6,000 containers to USA, Canada and the European Union.
In the las 5 years, cucumber exports have represented more tan 2,000 containers per season, and, regarding fresh jalapeno pepper, from 4 million pounds in 2000, the harvest for 2009 reached 24 million pounds. Comayagua’s produce also include mango, guava, papaya, onions, tomato, pepper and other vegetables.
Paving of the road Comayagua-Ajuterique-La Paz (18.3 km) will benefit about 230,000 local residents and, with the enhancement of 7 tertiary roads, the Millennium Challenge Account-Honduras will be responding to needs defined by local authorities to satisfy both road infrastructure requirements to promote local agriculture and commerce, and the urgency to facilitate the population’s access to health and education systems. These roads present an internal rate of return superior to 12%, and the municipalities of Ajuterique, La Libertad, San Luis and Siguatepeque are providing as counterpart up to 20% of the total coast of the works.
After hearing a brief description of the investments being made on the roads, Ambassador Llorens visited the papaya farm owned by Jose Adan Ordoñez, a FTDA farmer since November 2006, whose original net income before entering the Program was of US$ 789, and who is actually getting US$ 5,789. “These are nice-looking papayas… the biggest I have seen” commented the Ambassador. The Ambassador also had the chance to talk to Adolfo Hernan Ordoñez and Raul Migdonio Arias Ordóñez, who have also more than doubled their earnings.
Local producers thanked the Ambassador the support provided by of the People and Government of the United States, and detailed the changes brought to their life by the MCA-H/FTDA Program, and how the enhancement of the rural roads is facilitating the safe transportation of their production to the local markets.
Through the Agricultural Credit Access activity (MCA_H/ACA), 760 loans for 39.9 million lempiras have been disbursed to producers in the Comayagua Valley. These loans are being channelized through 10 financial intermediaries, 6 of which are also receiving technical assistance: BANCOVELO, FUNED, Inversiones Mejia, FERTICA, DEL CAMPO and LAFISE. The remaining financial institutions are only operating credit lines through the Trust Fund with BAC|BAMER and comprise: FINACOOP, COHORSIL, COMIXMUL and Global Village.
The visit was guided by Martin Ochoa, MCA-Honduras General Director; Jonathan Brooks, MCC Country Director; Daisy Avila, MCA-Honduras Rural Development Director; and by Andy Medlicott, MCA-H/FTDA Program Director.
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