ACCESO, a four-year project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), worked with more than 165,000 men, women, and children across six departments in western Honduras. The project, which began in April 2011, lifted rural households out of poverty and malnutrition conditions through access to economic development opportunities, including new markets and improved health and nutrition practices. Project clients generated nearly $40.5 million in new incomes by introducing good agricultural practices and market-driven production programs for cash and staple crops, as well as by expanding off-farm microenterpirse and employment opportunities. The prevalence and standing among client children under the age of 5 decreased by roughly 40 percent in target communities. ACCESO also worked in natural resource management to improve community watershed and forestry management.
ACCESO is part of the US government's Feed the Future initiative and is USAID's main investment in Honduras. The project is implemented by Fintrac Inc., in collaboration with a number of Honduran nongovernmental organizations, private, and public sector partners.
Project Duration: April 2011 to August 2020
Areas of Assistance: Copán, Santa Bárbara, Ocotepeque, Intibucá, La Paz, Lempira
USAID-ACCESO has the following high-level targets:
- Bring 30,000 rural households living below the poverty line above the poverty threshold, of which a minimum of 18,000 will be from households living in extreme poverty.
- Generate $73.95 million in net profits for the client households assisted by the project.
- Create 10,425 permanent jobs in the assisted communities.
USAID-ACCESO will assist at least 31,800 client households in these six departments, distributed as follows: 30,000 households living in poverty of which a minimum of 18,000 households that are living in extreme poverty, 1,000 commercial scale producers of horticultural crops, and 800 off-farm rural MSMEs.
The project is increasing sales and incomes by introducing basic production practices and market-driven programs for high-value cash crops, as well as expanding off-farm microenterprise and employment opportunities. There are six key components being implemented to enable economic development and nutrition improvements at the household level:
- Technical assistance and training to enhance the capacity of Honduras' poorest households in production, postharvest, management, and marketing skills.
- Market access focus, linking farmers to market opportunities.
- Rural financial services through existing rural financial intermediaries, village banks, commercial banks, and other service and input providers.
- Assistance in eliminating policy barriers that impede rural household access to market opportunities.
- Malnutrition prevention to enhance the capacity of rural households to improve utilization and consumption of food.
- Sound environmental and natural resource management.
Fintrac Inc., the US consulting firm implementing the program, is drawing on its worldwide experience in integrating small-scale producers into local and international value chains to create a sustainable force in Honduras that will greatly contribute to poverty reduction, increase food security, and improve health and nutrition.
ACCESO Senior Staff
Andy Medlicott has two decades of experience with complex, multi-year agricultural development projects, with 15 years as Chief of Party. He has supervised more than 100 field staff across multiple geographic locations and technical disciplines. Andy has led the successful establishment of new Honduran value chains in fresh and processed produce, specialty coffee, and tree crops. He has a Ph.D. in postharvest physiology with in-depth knowledge of natural resource management and climate change adaptation techniques.
Farmer Assoc Specialist
Carol Elwin has more than 25 years of experience in designing, implementing and managing sustainable community development, agriculture, health, education, and microfinance and business development programs throughout the world. Her technical areas of expertise include health and nutrition, agriculture, and microfinance and economic development. She has implemented rural development strategies incorporating smallholder farmers and micro small and medium enterprises into the commercial value chain and formal financial system and has extensive experience in managing programmatic and administrative operations of rural development programs. Carol is fluent in Spanish and English and holds a Master's degree in Public Health.
Jorge Soto has extensive experience in the development of business development services alliances, market analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and agricultural finance. He has supervised business plan development for 3,500 growers and programmed and coordinated small grants programs logistics for 5,000 farmers, including the installation of 2,300 hectares of drip irrigation. Jorge holds an agronomy degree from EAP-Zamorano and an MBA from INCAE in Costa Rica.
Ricardo Lardizabal has more than 20 years of experience as a production specialist in value chain development and integrated farm management, with in-depth knowledge of a wide range of horticultural, commercial, and staple crops. He is an expert in environmental mitigation measures, including the introduction of biological alternatives to chemical pesticides in Honduras and the development of environmental protection plans, including PERSUAPs. Ricardo specializes in implementing food safety requirements; ethical training; adherence to EPA guidelines; preparation of products for APHIS inspection; and is the leading expert in the commercial-scale cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and grains for local consumption and for export. He holds an agronomy degree from EAP-Zamorano, an M.A. in Fruit and Vegetable Production and Processing from Mississippi State University, and an M.A. in Plant Nutrition for Intensive Horticultural Crops from the Universidad Cartegena, Spain.
Spotlight on Nutrition
USAID-ACCESO is working to ensure that increased incomes result in improved health and nutrition, not only for the 30,000 families receiving direct technical assistance, but also for the entire population in the project's target areas. To do so, the project integrates nutrition and health into its core agricultural production and economic development activities.