The MAS Project: Sustainable Agricultural Improvement
The four-year Sustainable Agricultural Improvement project (Mejoramiento Agrícola Sostenible, or MAS, in Spanish) targets small and medium-scale coffee and bean farmers in the central region of Honduras. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress program, the project supports the Honduran government's national development plan and agriculture sector strategy. In 2016, MAS benefited more than 32,000 small-scale coffee and bean producers across more than 430 producer organizations. The assistance includes training through 459 field schools in five departments (El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán, Olancho, Comayagua and Yoro). More than 25,900 producers have been able to access $15.5 million in credit to buy quality inputs, provide maintenance to farms and invest in infrastructure. After four crop cycles, bean farmers increased their productivity by an average of 54 percent, which has enabled them to substantially increase their income. In addition, 89 agreements of commercialization were signed by government entities and producers, benefiting more than 1,000 bean farmers, commercializing more than 3,000 metric tons. Coffee growers have seen an average productivity increase of 54 percent and have increased their coffee revenues by approximately 60 percent as a result of market linkages facilitated by the project. Through the implementation of integral marketing contracts, about 325 coffee growers' organizations representing more than 7,000 producers assisted by the project have been able to sell approximately 200,000 quintals of coffee directly to exporters. The quality of coffee has substantially improved as a result of technical assistance, and approximately 7,000 producers are marketing their with a cupping grade of 80 percent or more on the SCAA scale.