Honduras launched a $119 million plan on Tuesday to ramp up agricultural output this year to mitigate rising food prices.
Agriculture Minister Hector Hernandez said Honduras aims to increase annual corn production by almost a third to up to 23 million 100-pound (46-kg) bags this year, compared to 2007.
The government also hopes to lift bean production slightly to 2 million 100-pound bags in 2008.
The government aims to give soft loans to farmers to increase production and subsidize farm insurance payments, help with fertilizers and build more food warehouses.
“We are going to provide a grant to the 250,000 poorest farmers so that these people and their families can produce, be self-sufficient and even sell their crops and not fall victim to grain shortages,” Hernandez told reporters.
The United Nations says low-income, food-importing countries such as Honduras are particularly vulnerable to a global rise in food prices.
Corn tortillas and beans are the staple diet for Honduras’ 7.5 million citizens, who often face food shortages due to droughts, fluctuations in world food markets and distribution problems.
Increased food demand from rapidly developing countries such as China and India, the use of biofuels, high oil prices, global stocks at 25-year lows and market speculation are all blamed for pushing prices of staples like wheat, maize and rice to record highs around the globe.

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