Honduras - Country Commercial Guide
Agriculture

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-12-02

Coarse Grain

Overview

U.S. corn exports to Honduras decreased by 7 percent in 2020 to $133 million, mostly due to the shrinkage of the Honduran economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, U.S. exports grew 196% during the first quarter of 2021, signaling a rebound fueled by the impact of Hurricanes Eta and Iota and the prolonged dry season on local corn production. Growth potential remains positive with an average growth of more than seven percent in the last four pre-COVID years. Given Honduras’ constraints and droughts, it is unable to produce sufficient grain supplies to support animal and fish/seafood feed, including for the expansion of shrimp and tilapia production. Honduras’ proximity to major grain export terminals such as New Orleans, Houston and Galveston will continue to allow U.S. corn and other commodities to compete for increased market share.

White corn, mainly used for human consumption, is the most widely produced grain in Honduras.  In the last two years, sorghum production has decreased to a minimum. The Government of Honduras is providing incentives to increase production of white corn to assure food security for human consumption.

Corn

2018

2019

2020

2021(Estimated)

Total Local Production

129,139,344

110,448,980

125,708,333

113,137,500

Total Exports

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Imports

125,594,612

142,897,650

132,808,877

139,449,321

Imports from the U.S.

106,900,000

123,100,000

128,700,125

135,135,131

Total Market Size

254,733,956

253,346,630

258,517,210

252,586,821

(Statistics are unofficial estimates. Data in USD. Sources: Honduran Central Bank, TDM, GATS, BICO)

Leading Sub-Sectors

The main product imported in the coarse grain category is yellow corn. All yellow corn consumed in Honduras is imported from the United States. Corn is used for animal feed production, particularly in the feed mixes used in the poultry, shrimp, tilapia, livestock, and swine industries.

Opportunities

Increased growth is expected in the feed mixes used in the poultry, livestock, shrimp, tilapia, and swine sectors. The Honduran government is also providing incentives to increase beef production.

Under CAFTA-DR, Honduras did not reduce the out-of-quota duty for white corn, but liberalization will occur through a quota which will grow up to 2 percent per year. Honduras will have a base quota of 30,360 MT for white corn in 2021. For yellow corn, the tariff has been eliminated.

Rice

Overview

U.S. rice exports to Honduras in 2020 were $47 million. Seventy-three percent of the rice consumed by Honduras is imported from the United States. The quality and reliability of U.S. rice are key selling factors behind the high market share.

Rice is produced on a limited scale in Honduras. 2021 production is expected to decrease compared to 2020 because of the impact of Hurricanes Eta and Iota at the end of 2020 and planting delays because of the prolonged dry season.

Rice

2018

2019

2020

2021(Estimated)

Total Local Production

19,232,355

18,146,736

12,916,667

11,625,000

Total Exports

2,282,190

1,979,970

2,732,789

2,188,360

Total Imports

68,872,891

57,013,057

63,695,818

64,675,753

Imports from the U.S.

60,800,000

50,851,441

47,273,921

48,001,212

Total Market Size

88,105,246

75,159,793

76,612,485

76,300,753

(Statistics are unofficial estimates. Data in USD. Sources: Honduran Central Bank, TDM, GATS, BICO)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Local rice millers prefer to import paddy rice for price reasons and to keep their processing plants running. However, milled rice is also imported into Honduras.

Opportunities

Historically, the majority of rice imports have been from the United States. Honduran import demand is expected to remain strong as it is a staple of local diet and local production is expected to decrease.

Under CAFTA-DR, rice tariffs will be eliminated in two years (2023). Tariff cuts will be back-loaded, with out-of-quota imports subject to a safeguard. In 2021, there will be a tariff rate quota of 118,800 MT for rough rice. Imports under the quota will be subject to a performance requirement, which will be eliminated in about two years. In 2021, the tariff rate quota for milled rice will be 15,300 MT. 

Wheat

Overview

Honduras’s land and climate are unsuitable for commercial wheat farming. The country depends on imports to fulfill the demand for wheat.

U.S. wheat exports to Honduras totaled $60 million in 2020. Wheat exports have decreased since 2018, especially in 2020 due the economic contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A slight recovery is expected for 2021 as the country continues to struggle with an economic recession and growth is estimated at 4.5%.

Wheat

2018

2019

2020

2021(Estimated)

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Exports

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Imports

80,514,032

68,290,022

60,039,196

62,740,959

Imports from the U.S.

75,031,294

64,226,786

60,038,919

62,740,670

Total Market Size

80,514,032

68,290,022

60,039,196

62,740,959

(Statistics are unofficial estimates. Data in USD. Sources: Honduran Central Bank, TDM, GATS, BICO)

Leading Sub-Sectors

The Honduran wheat industry uses an average of 216,000 MT per year with the vast majority of its raw material coming from the United States. Data estimates based on current sales indicate the market’s stability.

Opportunities

Honduras looks to the United States as its main source of wheat products, both through commercial channels and donations. There are no import duties applicable to U.S. wheat exports.

Soybean Meal

Overview

Traditionally, Honduras has filled virtually all its soybean meal demand with U.S. product. Domestic production is negligible.

U.S. soybean meal exports to Honduras were $110 million in 2020 and increased 20% compared to 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as the feed and food industries were exempted from confinement measures. The average growth of soybean meal imports over the last five years has remained steady five percent. Demand from the aquaculture and avian sectors is fueling the growth in soybean imports.  

Soybean Meal

2018

2019

2020

2021(Estimated)

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Exports

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Imports

100,067,829

91,782,544

110,206,181

112,685,820

Imports from the U.S.

100,067,829

91,773,346

110,056,740

112,457,875

Total Market Size

100,067,829

91,782,544

110,206,181

112,685,820

(Statistics are unofficial estimates. Data in USD. Source: TDM,)

Leading Sub-Sectors

The growing poultry, shrimp, and tilapia sectors in Honduras have been responsible for the increasing demand for soybean meal as it is used in feed mixtures for those products.

Opportunities

Continued expansion in the feed industry, particularly for poultry and tilapia production, should continue to fuel the demand for U.S. soybean meal in the years to come. Since the price of chicken products is more accessible to the Honduran population, demand from an increasing number of food franchise outlets is driving the need for more chicken. 

Red Meats

Overview

Honduras has one meat processing facility that has been certified by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to export its products to the United States. Some red meat products and sub-products imports from the United States have become a necessity to be able to satisfy the country’s demands.

U.S. red meat exports totaled $80 million in 2020, reflecting a 3 percent increase over the previous year. The average growth in the last five years reflects an uneven growth of one percent per year. Pork exports to Honduras will significantly increase in 2021-2022 as local production was severely hit by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November 2020 and recovery has been slow.

Red Meats

2018

2019

2020

2021(Estimated)

Total Local Production

297,064,854

298,076,567

352,612,245

299,720,408

Total Exports

16,225,749

15,858,817

18,036,426

18,487,336

Total Imports

77,547,618

85,144,010

86,631,764

90,963,352

Imports from the U.S.

70,145,130

77,608,073

80,030,641

85,632,786

Total Market Size

374,612,472

383,220,577

439,244,009

390,683,408

(Statistics are unofficial estimates. Data in USD. Sources: Honduran Central Bank, TDM, GATS, BICO)

Leading Sub-Sectors

CAFTA-DR brought immediate tariff elimination of prime and choice pork and beef cuts. Current Honduran consumer demand is centered on regular pork cuts, beef cuts, prime pork, beef variety meats, liver, tongue, sausage, trimmings, and pig’s feet. Additionally, the significant decrease in cattle stocking rates in Central America and purchasing power is contributing to a change in consumer demand from beef to more grain dependent proteins, such as pork and poultry.

Opportunities

The number of U.S. restaurants and franchises operating in Honduras has grown rapidly. The government looks at tourism as one of the priority sectors likely to create jobs and economic growth. Hotels and restaurants need a consistent supply of quality meat products such as U.S. beef and pork. Honduran traditional cuisine uses entrails and internal organs in its dishes. The local red meat industry does not produce enough products to satisfy its demand.

Processed Fruits and Vegetables

Overview

Imports of processed fruits and vegetables from the United States have declined 10% in the last 3 years. The imported products from the United States are recognized for their quality but have has lost market share to Mexico since 2018. Total exports from the United States totaled $17million in 2020.

Process Fruits and Vegetables

2018

2019

2020

2021(Estimated)

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Exports

63,443,394

45,879,028

76,762,836

78,681,906

Total Imports

59,986,094

61,336,439

60,947,571

61,557,047

Imports from the U.S.

19,455,038

20,220,467

17,652,504

16,769,878

Total Market Size

59,986,094

61,336,439

60,947,571

61,557,047

(Statistics are unofficial estimate. Data in USD. Sources: Honduran Central Bank, TDM, GATS, BICO)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Products that are popular with Honduran consumers and that are not subject to tariffs include canned sweet corn, tomato paste, canned pears, canned peaches, and mixed canned fruit. Data estimates based on current sales indicate a stable market.

Opportunities

Many U.S. franchises and restaurants in Honduras currently import frozen pre-made French fries from Canada and the United States.

Resources

U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service in Honduras 

Exporter Guide Tegucigalpa Honduras

Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standard Certification Tegucigalpa Honduras

Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Narrative Tegucigalpa Honduras

Point of Contact: Agtegucigalpa@usda.gov