The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire production and food chain in the country. Mobilization restrictions in all regions of the country hindered the normal performance of our agriculture program in western Honduras, affecting the traceability of vegetables that were left in the field without being able to harvest, resulting in major losses for the farm producer.
The negative impact is enormous and serious production problems are foreseen, endangering the food security of the entire population, with farm producers who live in the poorest areas of the country being the most affected.
PAG’s team provided training in the field to farm producers in western Honduras through technical assistance visits to follow up on their planting plans, harvest schedules and agronomic management of crops in the field, in protected infrastructure and processing centers in order to help farm producers improve their production techniques.
In comparison to the first quarter of 2020 and due to the current health crisis in Honduras due to COVID19, only 28% of vegetables were commercialized in the second quarter. Formal markets reduced their purchases by 84% and alternative markets by 49%. Negative impacts are expected in the next quarter on production and marketing, as planting was not carried out in the field due to the lack of resources from the producers.
Our health volunteers at the 500 community owned pharmacies provided a total of 44,955 primary health care attentions (11,042 people in western Honduras and 33,913 people in central Honduras) during the second quarter of the year.
As a follow-up to our AIN-C activities, mothers of families continued to be trained in food preparation using recipes that include carrots, beets, and green leafy vegetables to make fortified tortillas and thick grits with vegetables and grains in order to improve the nutrition of their young children. Additionally, the AIN-C health volunteers continued to be trained in detecting COVID-19 symptoms.
As part of the response to the COVID-19 emergency, medicine donations were made to several health centers in western and central Honduras. Additionally, in the Comayagua department, 1,262 individuals with chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes were directly supported with at least one or two medications for a one-month treatment. PAG receives these high-cost medicines through external donors which are difficult to obtain by these individuals due to the lack of employment, the current confinement measures, and the mobilization restrictions during the pandemic in Honduras. Most of these beneficiaries were at-risk older adults in extreme poverty.
The confinement restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult test for society and in general for local governments. Many of the cases of domestic & intra-family violence and violation of rights increased in our country in the past few months. It’s important to continue to strengthen the capacities of our program partners in the areas of: reporting cases of domestic violence, overview of children’s rights and rights of the elderly. Additionally, violence prevention and human rights promotion campaigns were developed in educational centers in various municipalities of the Comayagua department. The topics taught were: Protocols and action routes to address situations that affect children in the educational system, children's rights, adult rights, and procedure for dealing with minors in violation.
Thanks to the financial support of our donors, PAG provided a cash donation to the 243 scholarship recipients to help them buy food during the first months of the quarantine in Honduras. Many of their parents have not been working due to the strict confinement measures.
Students continue to receive their classes through WhatsApp, zoom meetings and emails.
Program staff have followed up with each scholarship recipient through phone calls and text messages to inquire about their health and classes. Parents have sought our prayerful support for a sick family member. Our staff also held virtual meetings through Zoom to address the fear that many are experiencing during this pandemic. Pastor Gerardo of the Student Crusade has encouraged our program staff and our beneficiary students and their families with messages from the Word of God.
With the fundamental objective of reducing poverty and reducing rates of violence through activities to strengthen the capacities of young participants, our project implements actions to connect youth and young adults to the productive sector through the management of employment opportunities or income generating activities. With the current pandemic, these activities have been limited since the productive sector, shops, restaurants, and others have remained closed during the strict confinement measures in Honduras.
This has had a major negative impact on the program as it has caused delays in carrying out several activities to support the youth in their search for employment opportunities. Most of the activities were limited to working from home and following up with youths and companies via telephone calls and virtual meetings.
The activities carried out include updating the resumes of the young participants and following up on strategic alliances with the business sector.