Inclusive territorial economic development in the Muskitia region, department of Gracias a Dios

Projet terminé
cocoa drying
Cocoa drying in La Mosquitia © FDFA

The economic development programme is carried out in the Honduran Muskitia, a fragile indigenous territory with great productive potential. The program empowers the territorial stakeholders in the cocoa and fishing value chains and the basic grains production chain located in the mid and lower watershed of the Patuca river. It promotes public-private alliances that respect indigenous rights in accordance to the convention 169 of the international labor organization. These public-private alliances generate 3000 new jobs and increase the income of 1500 indigenous families by 10-30%.

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Emploi & développement économique
État de droit - démocratie - droits de l’homme
Politique de l’industrie
Conservation des ressources en eau
Politique du secteur de l’eau
01.03.2016 - 31.08.2021
CHF  7’150’000

The 96,000 persons who live in the Honduran Muskitia include four excluded indigenous groups as well as mestizos and non-indigenous settlers. The principal socio-economic zone of the Muskitia is the mid and lower watershed of the Patuca river, the second longest river in Honduras. Economic activity in this zone is based on agriculture: cocoa, basic grains and fishing, centered on primary production with little added value and poor productive infrastructure. State presence is weak, the institutions that are present do not have the resources needed to provide adequate services, and application of ILO 169 has not been respected in the past.

Nevertheless, the territorial councils - the Muskitia indigenous structures -are developing livelihood plans and the municipalities, municipal development plans. In addition, in 2012 the government began to implement programs for development and prevention of violence in order to recover territory occupied by narco-trafficking; in 2016 it launched the Muskitia Development Alliance together with the indigenous peoples, local government and donor agencies. In 2015, donors organized a Muskitia cooperation roundtable, giving priority to shared governance and basing their work on shared guiding principles. In 2016, with donor support, the government initiated the process of establishing a territorial governance platform to promote free and prior consultation with the indigenous peoples, following ILO 169. The platform was formally established on April 4, 2017 with three thematic roundtables: governance and justice, economic development, and social development, making it possible to address territorial conflicts in a structured way. This architecture which is innovative for Honduras was supported by COSUDE and it constitutes the basis for the Muskitia ITED.


To contribute to providing income and sustainable employment for the indigenous peoples of the Muskitia through the cocoa, artisanal fishing and basic grains value chains, respecting indigenous rights and shared governance in the value chains and the territory.

Groupes cibles
  • The 5 territorial councils
  • MASTA and the Tawahka Federation
  • Production groups of the 5 territorial councils
  • Municipalities of Wampusirpe, Ahuas and Puerto Lempira
  • The municipal association of Gracias a Dios.
  • Unity of the Indigenous and Black Peoples of the Honduran Muskitia (UPINMH)
  • Value chain regulators and supporting organizations. Institute of professional training (INFOP), Ministry of Agriculture and Ranching (SAG), Directorate of Science and Technology (DICTA), General Directorate of Fishing (DIGEPESCA), Ministry of Economic Development (SDE), National University of Agriculture (UNA)
Effets à moyen terme

Outcome 1: The five territorial councils and three municipalities of the Patuca river watershed stimulate shared governance and public private investment strategies in the cocoa and artisanal fishing value chains and the basic grains production chain.

Outcome 2: The public and private stakeholders on the committees of the cocoa and artisanal fishing value chains in the Patuca river watershed increase productivity and competitiveness, ensure shared governance of the chains and promote the basic grains production chain.


Principaux résultats attendus:  

  • The five territorial councils, Tawahka, Bakinasta, Bamiasta, Batiasta, Katainasta, have implemented internal governance mechanisms that respect both the national legal system and the indigenous system, in accordance with ILO 169.
  • At least two territorial councils, Bakinasta and Katainasta, have developed competitiveness strategies and promote public-private investment in the cocoa, fishing and basic grains value/production chains.
  • The stakeholders on the value chain committees have taken on the roles, responsibilities and functions of internal governance and of supporting indigenous rights.
  • Local governments and businesses have implemented public-private investments that respect the decisions of the value chain committees and the legal framework.
  • The government institutions in the territory have developed their capacities and respond to the needs of the cocoa and artisanal fishing value chains and the basic grains production chain.

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

  • In the Plan of the Nation (2010-2022) the government has given priority to the integral development of the indigenous peoples of the Muskitia through the “Muskitia Alliance” initiative, signed in April 2016 by the donors, including SDC.
  • With the support of SDC and other donors, the government leads the general assembly of the Muskitia territorial governance platform and it gave property titles to the 12 territorial councils of the Muskitia region.
  • The donors in the Muskitia have created a roundtable for the Muskitia and have established common values and guiding principles, strengthening territorial governance. They also support the government in assuming its duties in relation of ILO 169.
  • Facilitated by SDC, MASTA and the territorial councils have made the geographic area of the Patuca river watershed a priority and have identified the potential of the cocoa, fishing and basic grains value chains, their limitations, and topics where external cooperation should invest.
  • SDC and the territorial councils have analyzed the opportunities and risks of the public-private approach in light of the indigenous system of governance and have selected businesses able to establish win-win commercial relations in the value chains.
  • Together with MASTA, SDC has undertaken baseline characterization studies of the value chains.
  • SDC has expanded its knowledge of the cultural dynamics in the region, paving the way for more effective work on gender and social inclusion.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
ONG internationale ou étrangère
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs


Government initiatives; Muskitia Development Alliance.

Programmes of other donors; IDB and GOAL fishing programme, German Cooperation cocoa value chain strengthening.

Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    7’150’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    7’274’502
Phases du projet Phase 2 01.08.2021 - 30.06.2024   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.03.2016 - 31.08.2021   (Completed)