The MAS Project 2.0: Sustainable Agricultural Improvement

The expansion of the Sustainable Agriculture Improvement Project, MAS 2.0, aims to improve the competitiveness of 32,000 small and medium coffee and bean producers by elevating productivity and agricultural quality, increasing access to information and high markets value, developing the capacity of producer organizations and strengthening local, regional, and international markets. Assistance includes training in sustainable agriculture practices and access to high-quality products through 500 field schools in nine regions (El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán, Olancho, Comayagua, Yoro, Santa Bárbara, Intibucá, Cortés, and La Paz) to help strengthen capacity-building in resilience to climate change. As climate change creates increasing havoc in the poorest nations with droughts, extreme weather, and varied agricultural productivity, the project will support producers through access to loans, financing, infrastructure, knowledge, and exceptional skills.

Context

The five-year Sustainable Agriculture Improvement Project (MAS 2.0 in spanish) aims to improve the competitiveness of 32,000 small and medium coffee and bean producers by increasing agricultural productivity and quality, access to information and high-value markets, developing the capacity of producer organizations and the strengthening of local, regional and international market.

Opportunity

Coffee is the main agricultural export product of Honduras, representing close to half of agricultural exports and around 20% of total exports in the country. Coffee contributes between 3 percent and 5 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP) and up to 30 percent of the agricultural GDP, generating $850-1,100 million and providing an income to about 120,000 coffee producing families and up to 300,000 rural workers.
Approximately 250,000 families rely on bean production in Honduras, and it is considered an essential food. Basic grain crops represent 13 percent of agricultural GDP and generate around 300,000 permanent jobs nationwide.

For more information,
please contact:

TOMÁS MEMBREÑO

Gerente de Programa USDA Honduras
tmembreno@tns.org

Strategy

The MAS 2.0 project aims to improve the quality of life for 32,000 small and medium coffee and bean producers through the TechnoServe consortium with iDE, FUNDER, Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock, and Michigan State University. The program has identified seven program activities that will contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and markets on the national, regional, and international level.

Activity 1. CREAR 
TechnoServe trains producers with "CREAR" ("create" in English) the accelerated learning methodology for adults ,and the field school model for producers.

Activity 2. Strengthening producer organizations
The program develops the capacity of more than 600 producer organizations (POs) to provide effective technical, financial, and marketing assistance.

Activity 3. Inputs
Business advisory services are provided to existing suppliers of agricultural inputs, services and equipment, with a particular focus on those products for climate-smart agriculture (CSA) for water collection, irrigation and soil analysis.

Activity 4. Strategies against climate change
Collaboration and regular discussions with national, local, and municipal government institutions will facilitate an improved and enabling environment for public policies related to the availability of inputs and adaptation strategies to climate change.

Activity 5. Access to better markets
Equitable agreements between POs and buyers provide producers with better access to formal markets. Producers with a marketing contract have better access to finance and can invest in their farms, resulting in higher productivity, higher incomes and food security.

Activity 6. Innovative financing
The promotion of innovative financing mechanisms for producers and POs provides these groups with the working capital they need to invest in their crops and for organizations to invest in the infrastructure and post-harvest services to increase productivity and quality of the coffee and bean plots.

Activity 7. Productivity with better agricultural practices
The program will provide technical assistance and training in best practices and processing of production, harvest, and post harvest of coffee and beans. Greater adoption of these practices will increase productivity and quality.

Results

MAS 2.0 will serve 32,000 producers; 22,000 in the coffee value chain, 10,000 in beans, and 40 percent women. It aims to increase productivity by 40 percent in coffee and 35 percent in beans. Access to markets with direct sales and links to financing will be facilitated.

Partners

United States Department of Agriculture: (USDA): is an executive unit of the US Federal Government. Its purpose is to develop and implement policies of livestock, agriculture, and food. Its goal is to understand the needs of producers by promoting agricultural trade and production, working to ensure food security, protecting natural resources, improving rural communities, and ending hunger.

The J.M. Smucker Company believes strongly in contributing to the well-being of communities with a majority of their cause-related efforts benefiting communities where they have offices and manufacturing facilities.

International Development Enterprises (iDE): Since2010, iDE has accelerated the growth of income of family agricultural enterprises in Honduras through access to smart irrigation, technology, and advice.

Foundation for the Development of Honduras (FUNDER): was created to improve the living conditions of the Honduran rural population through entrepreneurial mechanisms that allow the inclusion and financial sustainability of rural families as well as environmental sustainability.

Michigan State University (MSU): Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer institution and served as a model for future universities in the United States, and is well known for its academic programs in education and agriculture.

Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG): aims to make national agricultural production competitive, sustainable, and capable of inserting itself in the international economy, responding to the needs of the internal market and integrating itself in a human, social development scheme.