The local Salvadoran market could support farmers who grow cash crops like avocados, tomatoes and plantains. That's the conclusion of the Salvadoran government working with the US Millennium Challenge Corp. to develop the economy of the northern zones of the country.
Blogger Colleen O'Brien describes the market which the government hopes to tap:
Five products were identified as the most economically important in the region: Hass avocados, pineapples, tomatoes, plantains, and cacao. Hass avocados are a variety developed in the U.S. using a strain from Guatemala, and now dominate the worldwide market. El Salvador consumes about 12 thousand tons each year, but only produces a little over 2 thousand tons. Pineapples are the second most cultivated crop in the world after bananas; El Salvador imports 12 thousand tons and produces 8 thousand tons. Tomatoes are another economically important crop; approximately 70 thousand tons are imported to satisfy the local needs - only 28 thousand tons are produced in the country, demonstrating a major gap between demand and supply. Two crops that Fomilenio is hoping to boost for the export market are cacao and plantains. Cacao (Theobroma cacao), also called cocoa tree, is an evergreen tree native to El Salvador. Its seeds are used to make cocoa powder and chocolate, and typically fetches a high return on investment. Plantains are the other crop Fomilenio would like to see grown in increasing numbers. El Salvador is the third largest importer of plantains in the world, and according to experts from Fomilenio, it is a profitable crop that can be a viable alternative to sugarcane production. Under irrigation, the production levels could be very high; Fomilenio believes 130 thousand hectares of land could be devoted to this crop.Sounds like a good idea to me.