Hunger in Honduras
Honduras is one of the countries of the Northern Triangle. Home to a large portion of Central America’s population, Honduras lies between El Salvador and Nicaragua. While 60% of Hondurans live below the poverty line, there has been promising economic development. However, due to the instability of natural disasters and trading, hunger in Honduras remains a significant concern.

Food Security

Due to poverty, hunger has become a lasting issue in Honduras. According to the Food Security Portal, approximately 1.5 million people in Honduras endure “chronic food insecurity.” With 36% of the population in extreme poverty, food security is difficult to achieve. Many cannot afford proper nutritious meals and often rely on fast food or small portions of food. Approximately 7.4% of children are underweight and 21% of adults who suffer from obesity. The country also does not provide its citizens with adequate education on proper nutrition.

Crime in Honduras often leads to more hunger. In 2017, the UN reported that Honduras had the fourth-highest homicide rate in the world. Partially dominated by gangs, around 2.7% of Hondurans were internally displaced from 2004 to 2018. Due to this additional obstacle, the government prioritizes eliminating criminal activity before food insecurity. However, according to studies conducted in neighboring country Venezuala, hunger often leads to crime and crime fosters hunger. This cycle highlights the need for programming to address hunger specifically. 

The Pandemic and Drought

The Honduran government implemented restrictions due to COVID-19 that are negatively affecting the economy. The government shut down all borders, preventing refugees to flee, restricted hospitals to treating a limited amount of patients, implemented curfews and narrowed the opening of shops. Many people who suffered from other prevalent sicknesses lack proper treatment. The food crisis prevents people from extreme poverty from eating, causing further malnutrition. This also prevents local businesses from earning enough to buy food and hinders people in poverty from affording food while unemployed. The pandemic will stifle the country’s economic boom by -2.3% in 2020 and a predicted -3.95% in 2021. 

Furthermore, severe weather conditions and climate change often disturb the agriculture of the country. The Dry Corridor of the country suffered from a four-year-long drought that continued into 2019. In addition, “erratic rainfall” caused 80% of crops to deteriorate in 2015. The mountainous terrain of farmland, tropical climate and dry weather often strain efforts made by the government to improve food security.

Mitigating Hunger

Humanitarian organizations are focusing their efforts on mitigating hunger in Honduras. Along with the World Food Programme (WFP), the government of Honduras implemented Zero Hunger Strategic Review (ZHSR) to determine approaches to alleviate hunger. WFP came up with a list of strategic outcomes for 2030 including year-round access to nutritional food for students enrolled in primary school, as well as for households affected by natural disasters. In addition, organizations like ChildFund International work provide food to children in need and educate them on healthy eating habits.

Although Honduras has some setbacks, the country is working to improve food security. Moving forward, it is essential that humanitarian organizations and the government of Honduras continue to make food security a priority, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Zoe Chao
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Honduras
Honduras is the second-poorest country in Latin America and one of the poorest in the world. Approximately 1 in 5 Hondurans are living below the poverty line, in what can be defined as extreme poverty. Along with high rates of poverty come many issues—hunger being one of the biggest. The following are the top 10 facts about hunger in Honduras.

List of Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Honduras

  1. Poverty is the root cause of food insecurity in Honduras. When families do not know where their next meal is coming from, it leads to chronic hunger. A lack of food causes undernutrition in children and can promote the spread of disease.
  2. Rural areas are the most affected by limited food supply. Over half of Honduras’ extremely poor live in rural environments. When homes are isolated and not proximate to urban centers, access to food becomes even more restricted.
  3. Erratic weather patterns in Honduras worsens food insecurity. Honduras has experienced extreme droughts, during which many crops are lost and are no longer a reliable source of nourishment.
  4. Honduras lies in what is called the ‘Dry Corridor’, an area in Central America that is particularly susceptible to irregular and long-lasting droughts. Around 58 percent of children living in the Dry Corridor are undernourished and have stunted growth as a result. Weather is a major contributor to hunger in Honduras.
  5. Nonprofits have stepped up to help during periods of drought. The Honduras Livelihoods and Food and Nutrition Security in the Dry Corridor (ACS-GAFSP) was established after the country saw one of its most severe droughts in 2015 and 2016. The project mainly focuses on increasing food production and income generation, hoping to lift up to 50,000 Honduran families out of poverty.
  6. A lack of education on nutrition contributes to undernourishment. Many of the poor, living in Honduras, are not properly educated on nutritional awareness which leads to nutrient deficiencies. A poorly diversified diet also often leads to stunting in children.
  7. In children under 5 in Honduras, stunting levels are at 23 percent. This rate is tangible evidence of chronic undernourishment in children. In the Dry Corridor area, stunting rates can reach up to 40 percent.
  8. The WFP is working with the Honduran government to decrease hunger-related issues. It is trying to increase the resilience of those working in the agriculture sector in order to create a more steady supply of food. They are also trying to assist vulnerable families affected by food insecurity.
  9. High rates of hunger lead to high rates of migration. If there is no access to food in their home country, Hondurans are more likely to migrate to countries like the U.S. in hopes of having a better life. The WFP released a report in which Hondurans listed “no food” as their main reason for emigration.
  10. A lack of quality diet can also lead to unhealthy rates of obesity. Around 51 percent of women of reproductive age in Honduras are overweight. Reliable access to healthy foods would significantly mitigate this issue.

Hunger in Honduras is an ongoing problem, mostly due to less than ideal weather patterns that prevent the growth of steady crops. Malnutrition leads to many other issues like stunting and high rates of migration. The many nonprofits working toward feeding Hondurans provide hope for a bright future in Honduras.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr