A competitive, inclusive and sustainable development project for coffee and high-quality aromatic cacao chains in the El Paraíso Department, and for cashews in the Choluteca and Valle Departments of Honduras. 

PROGRESA contributed to reductions in poverty and increases in food security in Honduras, transforming coffee, cashew and cacao value chains into competitive and inclusive ones.
El Paraíso
Durée du projet
2017 - 2021
Financé par
  • Union européenne

Implemented through a public-private partnership:

Swisscontact, Instituto Hondureño del Café (IHCAFE), Molinos de Honduras, Secretaría de Agricultura y Ganadería de Honduras (SAG), Alcaldía de Danlí, Alcaldía de Namasigüe, COSUDE (first two years of the project)

The project

The PROGRESA project was implemented through a public-private partnership, led by Swisscontact, in conjunction with IHCAFE (Institute of Honduran Coffee Producers), with Molinos de Honduras (a private commercial business), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Production (SAG), and with the local governments of Danlí, El Paraíso Department, and Namasigüe, Choluteca Department.

PROGRESA helped to reduce poverty and improve food security in Honduras, generating better income and decent work for small and medium-scale producers; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and employees operating in the value chains of coffee, high-quality aromatic cacao, and cashew. Its specific objective was improving the competitiveness and sustainability of these three chains in the selected regions, as well as increasing inclusion and equity for 10,200 producers and 16,000 employees.

The project implemented a total budget of 6,949,903 Euros (31% of partner donations). In the case of the cashew chain, a partnership was formed with the project Rural Market Opportunities in the Gulf of Fonseca, which is also implemented by Swisscontact.


Project activities contributed to achieving eight of the 18 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 1: Ending Poverty, SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 10: Reducing Inequalities, SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, SDG 13: Climate Action, and SDG 17: Partnerships for Achieving the Goals.

Swisscontact’s methodological approach for managing value chains, combined with the experience of the consortium partners and collaboration with the private sector (mainly buyers) made it possible to achieve significant impact in all three value chains.

Between 2017-2021, PROGRESA actions contributed to:

US$ 130,965,650 IN SALES (COFFEE 98.7%, CASHEWS 1.2% AND CACAO 0.1%)

PROGRESA also contributed to significant progress in terms of competitiveness and sustainability, such as the creation of inclusive business models, improved governance (public-private agreements), and the promotion of innovative processes among a range of market actors and in the management of inclusive knowledge and learning. 

The project’s most notable results:

Achievements of actors, processes and innovation
  • 15,329 coffee producers (28.9% women), 1,825 cashew producers (47% women) and 401 cacao producers (23.4% women) adopted best agricultural practices.
  • 792 trainings in farm field schools were held.
  • 5,414 farmers spent less on fertilizer thanks to soil analyses.
  • 52.8% of producers received access to financing.
  • 1,320 solar dryers and 98 wet coffee processing plants were co-financed.
  • 6 clonal gardens were planted in 48 demonstration plots with resilient genetic material whose productivity has been validated.
  • 4 organisations have improved their negotiation skills, as a result of equipping quality control laboratories (tasting). 
  • 3 agro-industrial plants received international certification.
  • 2 storage and commercialisation centers for cacao were co-financed by the project and cacao producer associations.
Governance and public-private agreements
  • One Coffee Board for the El Paraíso Region, one Committee for the Cacao Chain in Region 11 and one Committee for the Cashew Chain were strengthened.
  • The capacities of 1,871 leaders of associations were strengthened in relation to organisational topics (49% women).
  • The skills of 76 organisations were strengthened (72 in coffee, 2 in cacao and 2 in cashews).
Competitiveness and sustainability
  • An additional 40% increase in coffee productivity.
  • An additional 18% increase in cashew productivity.
  • 378 hectares of plantations with high-quality aromatic cacao were created for export.
  • A total of 52,148 tons of coffee was produced.
  • A total of 140 tons of cashews was produced.
Inclusive business models
  • Seven inclusive business models implemented together with private companies.
  • 32 organisations were formally created.
  • The legal status of 10 organisations was updated.
  • Export licenses obtained for two organisations of coffee producers
  • Participation in three international fairs for specialty coffees (USA, Europe and Japan)
  • Support for organising two specialty coffee competitions (85 micro lots sold, for US$ 2.5-15/ pound).   
  • The Geographical Indication “El Paraíso Coffee” is in the process of being registered.
  • Coffee cup profiles were characterised according to variety, mountain range, altitude, and quality. 
Management of knowledge and learning
The most important events in the coffee value chain:
The PROGRESA project utilised Swisscontact’s Value Chain Management approach for transforming a productive value chain into a competitive and inclusive value chain.
about Swisscontact’s approach to managing value chains
The PROGRESA project generated positive and sustainable impact in the long-term through developing inclusive business models based on partnerships with the private sector, creating a virtuous circle of win-win results.
The most relevant documents and publications of the PROGRESA project (in spanish):
A compendium of videos that bring us closer to the stories behind the coffee, cocoa and cashew beans (in spanish):
Stories that illustrate the great transformative potential of the coffee, cocoa and cashew value chains and their impact on people and their families:


The outlook for coffee, cashew and high-quality aromatic cacao value chains:

  • Although the yields and quality of coffee have improved, the promotion of El Paraíso as a region producing specialty coffee needs to be strengthened, and especially the Parainema variety.
  • Coffee production is very susceptible to the New York Stock Exchange. Therefore, it is important to maintain direct links with international buyers and export companies.
  • The project established the foundations for viewing the El Paraíso region as a producer of high-quality aromatic cacao. Therefore, added value and the product’s local consumption should be promoted, to reduce complete dependency on the foreign market. The cocoa collection centres are crucial because fermentation is centralised and acidity, temperature and other variables are controlled, resulting in a larger amount of high-quality cocoa, whereas homogeneity of quality is lost if each producer ferments for themselves.
  • The cashew plantations were rejuvenated with improved genetic materials. However, improvements in generational replacement are needed, as well as reinforcement of added value for both the nut and the false fruit.