The fruit of the oil palm, a tropical palm tree, is a key agricultural product in Honduras. However, many small-scale producers of the crop lack the equipment and organizational capacity necessary for their business to thrive.
In 2007, TechnoServe began working with APROVA, a cooperative of 154 farming families who were earning little for the palm oil they produced. With TechnoServe’s assistance, the producers developed a clear business plan and implemented accounting, auditing and quality-control systems. They adopted democratic decision-making by the board and general assembly.
By 2008, TechnoServe’s assistance had contributed to a doubling of farmer profits and enabled the cooperative to create an education fund to ensure future growth and sustainability. APROVA opened its first oil processing plant in April 2009, thanks to funding from the USDA. With a plant capacity of 5.5 tons per day, farmers now process and refine their own palm oil, increasing their profits.