What is the appropriate mix of policies regarding agriculture in Honduras?
A basic principle in devising a portfolio of policies addressing agriculture's limitations and the overall goal of reducing poverty and food insecurity, is the understanding that the need of agriculture's intensification is critical. This is not a choice anymore, it is an imperative. Although, many countries in the world have reached a "food secure" status, we cannot ensure this will last into the future, unless appropriate investments are made to sustain this policy outcome.
In Honduras, we are really far from attaining food security. However, we cannot impose models which in the past have proven disastrous especially in Latin America such as the import substitution, where people were moved out of agriculture into urban areas with the expectation that industrialization would occur and thus absorb incoming flow of people. The later did not happen and that is one of the many reasons we have poverty belts in our cities.
We need to look for innovative approaches to improve smallholder productivity, to improve medium and large scale agriculture, promote exports and to develop the non-farm rural economy. Tough order, but we have no choice but to find solutions and policy responses to these challenges. One interesting experience is that of FINTRAC where they promote intensification of smallholder to medium farmers, with a target of increasing income by at least US$2,000 per hectare. http://www.fintrac.com/donor.aspx?pg=eda and http://www.hondurasag.org/.
More to come.