countryaah, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central
America, and the economy is dependent on commodity exports,
mainly coffee, sugar cane and bananas. This makes the
country's economy very sensitive to world market prices,
which were falling for these products during the 1990s. The
situation for the country's commodity exports worsened
further in 1993, when the EU imposed tariff restrictions on
During the early 2000s, the country enjoyed good economic
growth, mainly as a result of the establishment of compound
factories (maquiladoras) in the country and the expansion of
tourism and the construction industry. During the first
eight years of the 1990s, the country had stable GDP growth.
The financial crisis 2008–09 and the 2009 state coup were
hard blows to the country's business and positive economic
development was reversed. In the 2010s, the country's
manufacturing and construction industries began to recover,
but the tourism industry is still suffering from the unrest
that followed the coup d'etat.
Honduras has had a large foreign debt for many years, and
in 2005 the country was approved for debt relief under the
HIPC initiative. This meant some debt reduction, but the
country is still heavily indebted.
The country is heavily dependent on the US as an
exporting country as well as as aid and lenders.
For information on GDP and other business statistics, see
Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Agriculture, forestry and fishing employ almost 40 per
cent of the workforce, even though only 18 per cent of the
land is suitable for cultivation. The best soil in the
lowlands is owned and used by the large US-owned banana
companies Chiquita and Standard Brands. Production of basic
crops such as maize, beans and rice for local consumption is
managed by small farmers on usually poorer soils.
At least half of the rural population are landless
farmers. Meat production has decreased in importance due to
falling world prices and inefficient organization.
The forest is exploited heavily, among other things by
harvesting for the production of hardwood. Fishing, which
has increased in importance, is dominated by seafood.
The mining industry is concentrated in the largest mine,
El Mochito, in the province of Santa Bárbara in western
Honduras. The most important minerals extracted are silver,
zinc and lead. Minor amounts of iron and gold are also
Honduras energy supply is based on oil imports, which is
an important economic factor. The price trend for oil has
led to, among other things, increased gasoline prices,
rationing and sometimes even driving bans. Other sources of
electricity generation are heat and hydropower plants. A
hydroelectric power plant in El Cajón with 290 MW of power
has been in operation since 1985. In the countryside,
firewood is the most important energy source.
Honduras traditionally has the smallest industrial sector
in Central America, but during the 1990s, an area of
compound factories grew, called maquiladoras. These mainly
produce simpler clothing items that are exported to the
United States primarily. In the context of the international
financial crisis in the late 00s, these factories were hit
hard and many had to close. It is estimated that about
40,000 jobs disappeared in connection with these closures.
In the 2010s, there was a certain recovery, a trend
favored by increased interest from investors after the
Central American states in 2012 agreed to enter into a free
trade agreement with the EU.
The industry employs about 20 percent of the workforce.
The city of San Pedro Sula is Honduras industrial center.
The country's traditional industry mainly produces cement,
sugar, beer, soft drinks and cigarettes. Mining is important
for mining, construction, forestry and tourism. More than
half of the traditional industrial companies are small
family owned units with less than ten employees. Often, the
larger companies have foreign owners. The large banana
companies are also active in the manufacturing sector and
make soap, plastic, cement, margarine, cooking oil etc.
Traditionally, Honduras exports consist of raw materials.
However, the growth of compound factories, so-called
maquilas, during the 1990s changed the country's export
pattern, and during most of the 1990s the textile industry
dominated the export. However, in the wake of the
international financial crisis at the end of the 1990s, the
country's textile exports have declined. The main export
products next to clothing are coffee, seafood, bananas, meat
and wood products. Import products are mainly machinery and
transport, chemical products and oil. To offset a negative
balance of payments, loans are taken abroad, which has
created a large foreign debt. The most important trading
partner is by far the United States. Others of significance
besides the Central American neighboring countries are
Germany and Belgium. Honduras is heavily dependent on
foreign aid; here, too, the United States is responsible for
Tourism and gastronomy
Honduras tourism gained a boost during the 1990s when the
tourism industry received tax relief. The upturn continued
until the coup in 2009; In 2008, the country had 1.5 million
visitors. In 2012, the country was visited by 895,000
The memorials to past Native American cultures are among
the country's top tourist attractions. The most important
goal is the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Copán on the
border with Guatemala. Furthermore, there are a number of
interesting colonial cities, such as Comayagua, which was
the country's capital until 1880.
The swimming tourists mainly go to the bays of the
Caribbean or to the islands off the coast (Bahia Islands),
which are surrounded by coral reefs and which offer good
opportunities for diving. The adventure tourist is also
looking for the Masquiti region in northeast Honduras, an
almost uninhabited wilderness area with large unspoilt
rainforests and rich plant and animal life.
The Mayan Indians, Spain and Mexico have characterized
Honduran cuisine, which is very similar to that of the other
Central American countries. The corn is the most important
staple in the country and the main contribution of Indian
culture to the food industry; another is the use of the
other tree's fruits to color the food yellow. With the
Spaniards came the pork, rice and mill to fry the food. The
location by the sea means that fish and seafood are
important sources of protein, which complements the many
dishes with corn and beans. Tortillas (corn
pancakes) are served in a variety of variations, stuffed
called the enchiladas, empanadas or
tacos. Tapado de carne saladois a stew of
salted beef that is popular in the hinterland. In general,
chickens are more common than pork and beef. Chili peppers
dominate spice to a great extent.