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Food for Progress Initiatives Produce Real Results- And Strawberries

By John Brewer, Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator

As our group sat near the strawberry fields, in Jutiapa, Honduras, it was hard not to be impressed with the positive outcomes stemming from a USDA grant in 2006. On Tuesday, June 29, I inaugurated the “Biotechnology and Food Security” Conference and later that day I found myself in the strawberry fields—I’ll get to those in a minute.

Honduran Oil Palm Cooperative Doubles Capacity, Opens Plant with Food for Progress Program Help

Since 2008, a cooperative of 154 oil palm farmers that comprise the Aguan Valley Palm Producers Association (APROVA) more than doubled their profits and their fruit collection capacity and opened their own refinement plant with assistance provided by TechnoServe under USDA’s Food for Progress (FFPr) Program.

Before this FFPr project began, the farmers lacked access to scales and a centralized collection center. Their disorganization put them in unfavorable negotiating positions and hurt their earning power.