Central America is a small region with approximately 42 million inhabitants. Approximately half of the region’s population lives in rural areas. The rural families have not fully benefitted from the socio-economic and political changes the region has seen over the last two decades. Limited access to land, technology, credits and markets for the small scale farmers are part of the explanation, so is the region’s high vulnerability to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
The Development Fund has worked in Central America since the 1980s. Currently, our work in the region is concentrated in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Our main objective is to reduce rural families’ social, economic and climatic vulnerability. Our main approach and prioritised topics are:
- sustainable agriculture and increased food security
- strengthening of farmers’ organisations and cooperatives access to markets for small-scale farmers
- climate change adaptation;
- sustainable management of natural resources;
- agrobiodiversity and genetic resources.
Challenges on many fronts
Challenges in Central America are many and complex. Climate change has increased the region’s vulnerability significantly, provoking extreme and unpredictable weather conditions such as excess of rain or drought. It is expected that climate change will drastically reduce food production, access to water and biodiversity in the future.
For the rural families, access to basic services such as health, education and sanitation are limited, as the State is still absent in rural areas. Weak institutions hamper the development and implementation of national plans for management of natural resources and strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change in the region. Farmers, and in particular women, indigenous people and youth, have traditionally been excluded from decision making processes and lack opportunities that may increase their living conditions and their influence on decision concerning their lives.
Building local capacity
The Development Fund work closely with local farmers’ organisations and non-governmental organizations, and all projects are implemented by local organisations. We also support our partners to increase their capacity to do advocacy and participate in local, national and international policy processes regarding climate change, food security and plant genetic resources.