Inclusive Economic Development Program Territorial Region 13 Gulf of Fonseca

Project completed
Cashew producer partner "La Sureñita"
Cashew producer partner "La Sureñita" © FDFA

The program contributes to generate 5'000 new jobs and to increase the income of 10’000 vulnerable families living in the watersheds of Choluteca, Goascorán and Nacaome by 10% annually. The program promotes public-private partnerships taking into account the challenges and potentials of smallholder families producing cashew, sustainable livestock and eco-tourism. It also facilitates territorial dialogue to establish rules that foster a business climate that combines financial benefits with social and environmental sustainability.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Employment & economic development
Industrial policy
Employment creation
01.08.2017 - 30.09.2023
CHF  8’350’000

Region 13 – the Gulf of Fonseca (R13GF) has a population of 782,000 inhabitants (165,000 households); it has moderate growth driven by public investment, exports and high levels of remittances.

R13GF has a potential for development of value chains that create employment and income due to its geographical location bordering Nicaragua and El Salvador, and its biological diversity encompassing marine and coastal ecosystems, valleys and mountains. The government has prioritized R13GF in its development plans and is implementing two initiatives: the Dry Corridor Alliance (ACS) and the Productive Landscapes Project that seek food security and conversion of extensive cattle ranching into sustainable livestock.

Nevertheless, the R13GF has high levels of economic inequality with 64.76% of the population living in poverty. 70% of this population in poverty lives in the Goascoran, Nacaome and Choluteca River watersheds.

Governance in the R13GF is fragile, with increasing conflicts due to companies that monopolize huge extensions of land and water without leaving benefits for the population. The government’s institutional presence is weak, with low levels of subsidiarity.  At the central level concessions are granted to companies for energy production and mining, without the corresponding free and informed prior consultation of the population. In addition, the government modified the legal framework in order to criminalize social movements that oppose these concessions.

In this context, the public and private stakeholders of the R13GF agreed on an organizational and planning process to improve territorial governance and the business climate. The Goascoran River Watershed Council and the Gulf of Fonseca Regional Development Council have emerged and lead the multidimensional regional planning processes. This organizational fabric has established a Regional Competitiveness Agenda, prioritized the value chains of coastal eco-tourism, cashews and sustainable livestock to propel a participatory sustainable development process.

Objectives Contribute to excluded and vulnerable families in the coastal eco-tourism, cashew and livestock value chains in Region 13 Gulf of Fonseca obtaining sustainable income and employment based on enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights, and reduction of environmental impacts.
Target groups
  • Stakeholders in the coastal ecotourism, sustainable livestock and cashew value chains such as CANATURGF, livestock associations, and cashew companies.
  • The NASMAR, MANBOCAURE, and MANORCHO municipal associations.
  • Values chain regulating and support agencies, PRONAGRO, Institute for Professional Training INFOP, Ministry of Agriculture and Ranching SAG, Directorate of Science and Technology DICTA, Ministry of Economic Development SDE, National University of Agriculture UNA.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Public and private territorial stakeholders[1] in Region 13, the Gulf of Fonseca, improve the business climate and propel value chains for coastal ecotourism, cashews and sustainable livestock, respecting the governance system of the value chains. 

Outcome 2: Stakeholders in the coastal ecotourism, cashew and sustainable livestock value chains improve their competitive capacities, integrate young people into the workplace, protect the environment, and respect ILO Convention 169 and the economic, social and cultural rights of their employees and partners.

[1] Public and private territorial stakeholders are understood to be: UTPR, CANATURGF, Chamber of Commerce, and the NASMAR, MANBOCAURE, and MANORCHO municipal associations.


Expected results:  

  • Territorial stakeholders such as the Regional Permanent Technical Unit (UTPR), CANATURGF, the Chamber of Commerce, and the NASMAR, MANBOCAURE, and MANORCHO municipal associations have simplified business requirements in the coastal ecotourism, cashew and sustainable livestock value chains.
  • Territorial stakeholders have developed a territorial competitiveness strategy that promotes public-private investment in the coastal ecotourism, cashew and sustainable livestock value chains.
  • CANATURGF, 4 livestock associations, and 4 cashew companies have established business plans based on market demands.
  • The coastal ecotourism, cashew and sustainable livestock value chains have established an innovation, research and transfer system.
  • CANATURGF, 4 livestock associations, 4 cashew companies have implemented standards for compliance with ILO Convention 169 and the declaration for development.

Results from previous phases:  

  • The government has made investments to improve competitiveness in R13GF, such as building roads that connect Honduras with the Republics of El Salvador and Nicaragua as well as improving the energy load to cover the demand of the large private companies.
  • With support from SURCOMPITE, the Government initiated a one-stop export window to reduce costs and make the value chain businesses viable.
  • With support from SURCOMPITE and the United Nations, the coastal ecotourism, cashew and sustainable livestock value chains have designed competitiveness framework agreements and plans.
  • SDC, together with territorial stakeholders, have selected appropriate companies to establish win-win commercial relations in the value chains.
  • SDC, together with territorial stakeholders, have conducted studies to typify value chains (baseline).
  • SDC has extended its knowledge of the cultural dynamics in the area, enabling more effective work on gender and social inclusion.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Coordination with other projects and actors

SDC programs: Territorial Watershed Governance R13GF, Our Goascoran Watershed, PROJOVEN, FDHAS, DEIT Mosquitia. Program of Transformative Empowerment with a Psychosocial Approach, Citizen Security.

Government Initiatives: Dry Corridor Alliance, AMHON

Programs of other cooperation agencies:

World Bank Food Security Program; IDB’s SURCOMPITE 

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    8’350’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    7’159’989
Project phases

Phase 1 01.08.2017 - 30.09.2023   (Completed)