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Israel offers Honduras aid to solve drought

After meeting with the president of Honduras, experts from Israel stated that the Government of Honduras had to implement the agricultural extension service to enhance the farmers' knowledge in water management.

In a press conference at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Israeli expert Albert Avidan highlighted the effort made by Honduras of constructing small water harvesting systems, but noted that producers needed to be trained to make reasonable use of the liquid stored.

Avidan emphasized that Honduras did not lack water, but that the country needed to learn how to collect rain and underground water to be used in critical times.

The expert is part of an Israeli mission visiting Honduras after being invited by the Honduran president, as part of a plan for promoting water management to solve the drought problems that affect the Central American country every year.

After a tour through southern Honduras, Avidan stressed the value of the Jose Cecilio del Valle dam, located in the city of Nacaome, bordering El Salvador.

He stated that the dam had multiple uses, as it could be used to make electricity, have drinking water, but also to irrigate at least 5,000 hectares of vegetables.

However, he insisted that the problem in Honduras is that farmers didn't "have advisers to teach them how to manage water more efficiently."

The Honduran government has been promoting the water harvesting systems since last year and, according to authorities, they have built some 76 small, medium, and large harvesters so far. However, that hasn't been enough to meet the country's needs.

Israel has plenty of experience in the agricultural extension service, said the expert, noting that his country can share its experiences with Honduras on that topic and irrigation management.

The Israeli ambassador to Guatemala, Mashe Bachar, said the Jewish state is already working with the Central American country on a project for water management.

Although Israel is a very dry area, the country knows how to "manage water to benefit agriculture and its citizens," said the diplomat.

Meanwhile, the Honduran Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Jacobo Paz, announced that in the coming days another group of Israeli experts would arrive in the country to provide continued support to Honduras so they could solve their water storage problem in the medium term.

They will also advise the Central American country on how to tackle climate change and the drought affecting the agricultural production every year.

"We will refurbish the irrigation projects that are in Comayagua (center) and the largest dam project in the Nacaome River," stated the Honduran official. The funding for this project has already been approved by Italy, he added, but didn't specify the cost of the work.

This year, the drought affected 13 of the 18 departments of the country, and some regions lost between 60% and 80% of the subsistence crops of corn and beans, basic grains in the diet of Hondurans, according to local authorities.

Source EFE and Aurora

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