Talks wrap up on free trade deal with Honduras

Canada has pledged funding to a raft of food security initiatives in Honduras on the same day as it announced a conclusion of talks toward a free trade deal.

By itself a free trade deal is expected to secure a flow of Canadian agricultural goods toward the Central American republic, which has a population of about eight million and an arable land base of about 4.2 million acres.

The deal, still to be signed and ratified by both governments, would benefit Canadian businesses in several sectors including both agriculture and value-added food processing, as well as professional services, manufacturing and “commodity- and resource-based industries,” the government said Friday.

Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Honduras totalled $192 million in 2010, of which Canadian exports totalled $40.8 million, mainly in fertilizers, machinery and dyes. Canadian imports from Honduras totalled $151.2 million, mainly fruit and knit/woven apparel.

Canada and Honduras agreed to start their bilateral talks in October 2010, following nine years of talks with the “Central American Four” also including El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Canada’s funding announcements for food security in Honduras, also announced Friday, include:

  • $6.1 million toward the World Food Program’s (WFP) Honduras Country Program, aimed at “nutrition, health and food security” for poor populations, specifically “pre-school and school-age children, as well as pregnant and lactating women.”
  • $17 million from now through 2015 for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Special Program for Food Security, focused on areas such as “diet diversification, sustainability of agriculture production systems and the promotion of better nutritional education and health practices.”
  • $12 million from now through 2017 for the Agriculture Value Chain Initiative, including a sustainable coffee production project with the Honduran Institute for Coffee, and a project on promoting cacao agroforestry systems with the Honduran Foundation of Agricultural Research.
  • $13 million from now through 2017 for the Promoting Food Security in the Choluteca and Rio Negro Watersheds (PROSADE) project, which aims to boost food security for some 24,200 poor rural families in southern Honduras, through improved agricultural productivity and diversity and promoting sustainable natural resource management practices.
  • $12 million from now through 2016 for the Food Security in the Nacaome and Goascoran Watersheds (PRASA) project, to boost food security and income for 3,000 poor rural families in southern Honduras, also through improved agricultural productivity and sustainable natural resource management.

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