Rising numbers of farmers in drought-stricken Honduras could be forced to leave their homes unless support for rural communities is ramped up to help struggling families better cope with extreme weather and climate change, UN officials have warned.
Honduras declared a national emergency last month due to a severe drought that has decimated staple-crop harvests of beans and maize by up to 80 percent in some areas of the poor Central American nation, according to government figures.
Nearly half a million Hondurans, many of them small farmers, are struggling to put food on the table, according to two UN agencies, the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Dennis Latimer, FAO’s Honduras representative, said his organisation was “very worried”, as a large percentage of farmers had lost their harvest from the first planting season and would struggle to recover during the second.
“We are in a crisis because of climate change,” he said. “Patterns are being disturbed, and we have long periods of drought, followed by very intense short periods of rain. So we have to be able to adapt to these new climate patterns.”
Climate change has been high on the agenda during last month’s gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. But for Honduran farmers, dealing with the impact of climate change-linked droughts has already become the new normal.
Honduras is reeling from five years of consecutive droughts, affecting more people and different parts of the country.