We started work in Honduras in 2005, invited by the German the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve about Maya Nut. Maya Nut is called Masica, Ojoche or Pisba waihka in Honduras.
One of the communities we trained in 2005 is called “El Guayabo”, and they responded immediately to the opportunities presented by the Maya Nut Program by producing Maya Nut powder to sell locally within just one week of receiving training! Today, the community of El Guayabo is the flagship producer group in Honduras, producing and selling Maya Nut in the local markets, training other communities and generally being powerful Maya Nut advocates in Honduras. Their project has been visited by hundreds of Honduran organizations hoping to replicate their success in other sites.
Since 2005 we have trained more than 200 ladino, Chorti, Pech, Miskito and Tahwaka communities in Honduras, in the departments of Olancho, Atlantida, Copan, Choluteca, Lempira, Gracias a Dios, Santa Barbara, El Paraiso y Colon.
The Honduran program has been supported entirely by local partners since 2011. These partners include PRORENA/GIZ, UNICAF, Lancetilla Botanic Garden, COAFORPLA, INAFOR (Honduran National Forests Institute), National Forest Sciences School of Honduras, United Nations Small Grants Program, United Nations Food and Agriculture Foundation, Honduran Fund for Agricultural Research (FHIA), Toyota Foundation, Agrolibano Foundation, and the Municipal Water Association of Choluteca (AJAM), among others.
While there are some very large tracts of Maya Nut forest left in Honduras (La Mosquitia and Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve), most are relatively small (<10ha), the majority having been converted to bananas, sugar cane, coffee, pineapples and rice. For this reason, production potential in Honduras is low and commercialization of Maya Nut products has not been a priority for producers or partners. The focus in Honduras is more on family consumption, conservation and reforestation.
The Honduran team, led by Alejandra Osorto, Yessica Oliva, Dr. Christine Woda, PhD. and Fredy Rodriguez has been working diligently to strengthen the network of producers and buyers in Honduras and also to generate interest among the government branches of the Forest Service to invest time and funds in establishing and formalizing sustainable harvest practices for Maya Nut and other Nontimber forest products in Honduras. Dr. Woda has been instrumental in designing participatory management plans for Maya Nut and in defining the criteria for Maya Nut Certified™.
Alejandra and Yessica have created their own business, Nuez Maya Honduras to help producers market their products and to teach Maya Nut workshops in new communities. We are very proud of them for their vision and hard work.