Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building

Plant breeding programs in Honduras

Geographical situation of HondurasMost land in Honduras is covered by mountains, giving rise to the country's nickname, "the Tibet of Central America.". The total land area is 11.2 million hectares, of which a scant 1.7 million hectares (about 15 percent) are well suited for agriculture. Nevertheless, the Honduran economy has always depended almost exclusively on agriculture. Coffee is at the moment the main agricultural activity of the country, contributing with the highest percentage from the agricultural sector to the Gross Internal Product and in the generation of direct and indirect employment.

Honduras is a country with little development of its farming production system; this also is reflected in a precarious system in plant breeding. At the moment there are few institutions, public or private, that dedicate efforts to breeding. In general, breeding programs are relatively new; none of them were established more than three decades ago. The number of breeders is small.

Institutions are mainly dedicated to the improvement of crops that are basic for food security of the Honduran population such as beans, rice, and maize, plus coffee as a cash crop. The combined effort has resulted in the release of six varieties of maize, 17 of bean, three of rice, and three of coffee.

All institutions agree that the inadequate number of breeders is the limiting factor for the success of the plant breeding programmes. Inadequate infrastructure of research laboratories, and the lack of resources for experiments in the laboratory and in the field are the main constraints for breeding.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes

Science and Farming Technology Department

Science and Farming Technology Department - Dirección de Ciencia y Tecnología Agropecuaria (DICTA)
Website available in Spanish

DICTA represents the governmental office for farming research and technology transfer. It works with rice, sorghum, potato, maize, bean and forages. Line development and adaptation represent 80% of DICTA’s breeding budget. Improvements for climate adaptation constitute a high priority.

Private Institutes

Honduran Coffee Institute

Honduran Coffee Institute - Instituto Hondureño del Café (IHCafé)
Website available in Spanish

IHCAFE is a private institution independent from the Honduran government since 2000. Dedicated exclusively to coffee, IHCAFE is formed by the organized coffee producers and has as its mission the implementation of the Honduran Coffee Policy. Among the functions of this institution is the development of research in breeding and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Zamorano school

Panamerican Agricultural School Zamorano - Escuela Agrícola Panamericana Zamorano (EAP)
Website available in Spanish and English

Institutional research and outreach at Zamorano are recognized for generating creative integrated solutions, focusing on the rural communities, forests and watersheds, small and large agricultural and agroindustrial businesses and the regional and global markets. The EAP breeding program prioritizes crops such as maize and beans, based on the daily diet of the great majority of the Hondurans.

Information by Nestor Javie Meneses (2008) - Information based on the Honduras's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 20-07-2009, GIPB