Honduras is locked in the hearth of Central America’s productive area and it borders Guatemala to the north, Salvador to the west and Nicaragua to the south. In this region the environmental conditions have always been ideal for coffee production thanks to soil composition, atmospheric conditions, altitude and very skilled farmers. However the lack of a proper infrastructure system and the incapability in finding an appropiate market, restrained hondurian’s development. Despite this IHCAFE institution allowed Honduras to grow exponentially year after year, rising as 5th producer in the world after Brazil, India, Colombia and Ethiopia and 2nd for washed Arabicas.
We know that the plant was first introduced in the country by spaniards of Costa Rica and in 1804 we can find written proofs that talk about a “fine quality coffee” cultivated in Honduras; however due to several issues that troubled the country after its independence from Spain, coffee production had become very difficult to develop. During most of the twentieth century, also because of the infrastructure issues mentioned earlier, the whole amount of coffee produced was destinated to the internal market or smuggled to the neighbouring countries of Guatemala and El Salvador. Because of this and the more profitable bananas cultivation, the first cash crop exported, coffee production slowed down. Coffee however had a crucial role for the contribution of smallholders’ viability and the local community development.
For this reason, in the last 25years local governement’s efforts have encouraged and strengthened motorway networks linked to the production areas. Then through IHCAFE quality improvement was able to progress; specific studies on soil composition combined with geolocalisation technology and the development of new rust resistant varietals, like Lempira and IHCAFE 90 deriving from Robusta hybridisation contributed considerably to the growth of the last 10 years.
After these policies the first registered designations of origin were created for Marcala region in 2005 and the distinction and promotion of six main coffee areas. Today 12,5% of population’s sustenance comes from coffee production, mainly shade grown under banana trees, now the second cash crop of this country.