Honduras aims to ensure food supply with plantings on unoccupied land

FILE PHOTO: Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a joint message with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Chad Wolf (not pictured), at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras will spur planting of grains, vegetables and fruit on unoccupied land as it intervenes in the agroindustrial sector to ensure the food supply amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic, President Juan Orlando Hernandez said on Tuesday.

Instructions will go out to the agriculture ministry and the national agrarian and property institutes to identify such land and direct its owners to plant the food crops to supply national markets, he added.

“This plan for food security will ensure that there is food on the tables of all Hondurans, so that when this crisis passes we will not have famine,” Hernandez said in a televised address.

He did not give further details of the plan, however, and an official decree has yet to be published.

Property owners would be compensated fairly for their services, Hernandez added.

Just over three weeks ago, the government imposed a curfew in a bid to halt the spread of the virus, which has infected 312 people.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Julia Love; Editing by Clarence Fernandez