Supplement to Commerce reports


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Supplement to Commerce reports daily consular and trade reports issued by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Department of Commerce
Uniform Title:
Commerce reports
Volume title page for -<1920>:
Supplements to Commerce reports : review of industrial and trade conditions in foreign countries in ... by American consular officers
Portion of title:
Daily consular and trade reports issued by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Department of Commerce
Physical Description:
6 v. : ; 24-26 cm.
United States -- Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce
Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Dept. of Commerce
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Commerce -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Foreign economic relations -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )


Additional Physical Form:
Also available in electronic format.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
Began with issue for Jan. 8, 1915?; ceased with issue for Dec. 31, 1920?
Numbering Peculiarities:
Each issue covers an individual country and bears a number corresponding to that country. Reports from the various consular districts in a country are distiguished by the addition of a letter (66a, 66b, 66c, etc.), in the order in which they are issued.
Numbering Peculiarities:
Issue no.52f, 1919, contains misprint, November 41.
General Note:
Title from caption.
General Note:
"Annual series."

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 004822593
oclc - 16390134
sobekcm - AA00005307_00041
lcc - HC1 .R1981
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Related Items

Preceded by:
Daily consular and trade reports (Washington, D.C. : 1910)
Succeeded by:
Trade and economic review for ..

Full Text



Annual Series No. 31b October 7, 1918

By Consul Franels J. Dyer, Tegucigalpa, July 10.
Bonduras, while not at war with the central powers. lias severed
diplomatic relations with them. The war has had marked effect on
the business of the country, increasing the cost of living, cutting off
some accustomed supplies, partially restricting the markets for ex-
ports, reviving some dormant industries, and leading to the establish-
ment of new ones.
With a population estimated at 600,000 and an area approximately
equal to that of Pennsylvania. Honduras has abundant room for
development. It has a tropical climate with few of the usual dis-
advantages. The interior is mountainous and salubrious. with con-
siderable rich land suitable for diversified farming and fruit grow-
ing, while all of the remainder, even the steep mountain slopes, is
used for pasturage. Along the coast it is hotter than in the interior,
but foreigners from the United States and Europe live there year
after year and in general enjoy good health, although malaria and
dysentery must be guarded against. The north coast is especially
suited to bananas and coconuts, and it is being developed rapidly,
chiefly through companies having their headquarters in the United
States. The south coast, fronting on Fonseca Bay, is much shorter
and the country adjacent to it is less productive than that lying be-
tween the north coast and the mountains fronting on it.
National Highway Nearing Completion.
Transportation is the one thing that lolds back the development of
Honduras. There is a short railroad running from Puerto Cortes to
Potrerillos, a distance of 59 miles, but it has no feeders and taps no
productive area. It belongs to and is operated by the Government of
Honduras. Fruit steamships operate regularly to Puerto Cortes,
Ceiba, and Tela, on the north coast; other places with possibilities
for fruit growing just as great as those named have no regular ship-
ping service, so it is useless for them to engage in raising fruits and
other agricultural products which they can not sell. Even the
natural. products, like rubber, sarsaparilla, ginger, balsams, and
cohune nuts, are not exported with system or energy. The interior
of the: country has few roads, the notable exception being the fine
automobile hiighway which the Government is constructing with the
purpose of ultimately spanning the country from the port of
Amapala, on the Pacific side, to the end of the national railway near
the north coast. About f25 miles of this highway has been completed
at the southern end of the route, while at the northern end a section
j i



-. is completed from the end of the railroad to Lake Yojoa. Work is
\ progressing steadily on the roadc but at a great cnt, ewing t t he
m ountaiaous character of the greater part of the route. Elsewhberin
Honduras transportation is almost wholly by pack train.
zihiag of Silver, Gold, and Other Ores.
Prospectors continue to be attracted to Honduras, but the number
of new mines developed is small. The declared export returns show
that the value of minerals and metals exported from the country
during 1917 was $1,545,803 and the bulk of this was the product of
the Rosario mine. This total was made up of silver bullion and con-
centrates valued at $1,277,08, and gold bullion and concentrates,
valued at $268,775. The New York company operating the Rosario
mine is showing enterprise by constantly seeking new properties,
and at the present time it is completing a mill on a mine at Sabana-
grande, where possibly $1,000,000 worth of silver ores has been
blocked out during the past three years. Other mines are being
worked in a small way by various owners and some of them may
develop into large properties. Some gold is shipped out of the
country through the mails and in other ways and does not appear in
the declared export returns. Placer gold is found over a large area,
but the recovery is relatively small. Placer mining is done chiefly
by Indians, and operations by American companies have been in
the main unprofitable.
Some interest is being shown in other metals and minerals than
gold and silver. A company holding a petroleum concession las
spent considerable money in road construction to comply with the
terms of its concession, but it has done little actual work in prospect-
ing for oil. Search is being made for aluminum ores and for plati-
num. Iron and copper exist, and coal is reported. It is believed
that precious stones have been found. but there is no definite in-
formation regarding them.
The volcanic formation of the country and the difficulties of trans-
portation have hindered mining operations, but there is probability
ihat eventually Honduras will produce much more mineral wealth.
Fishing Industry Undeveloped-Dairying Limited.
Honduras has no fisheries. On the north coast the deep water,
except around some of the keys and islands, foils the fisherman.
Enough fish could be taken to supply the local population and leave
some for export if the industry were properly organized, but at
present fish is scarce and high. The same may be said of the south
cons', which occasionally sends a small consignment of fresh fish or
oysters to the capital.
The rivers of Honduras could be stocked with fish, but at present
l dynamite is used in violation of law to secure fish, and this practice
has done much to destroy what should be a reasonably good addition
to the food supply.
Dairying is carried on to a very limited extent and in a primitive
way. Usually there is enough milk produced to supply the demand,
and native butter can be purchased in the market. Considerable but-
ter is imported from the United States, and in Tegucigalpa the Cali-
fornia butter in tins commands about $1.12 per pound.



Stockraising and Agriculture.
Owing to the cost of transportation, which in general is by pack
mules, it is impracticable in the interior of Honduras to extend agri-
cultural operations much beyond the local requirements. Altllougli
cattle are raised throughout the country, they are exported to a very
limited extent, the priced rules low, as the local market seemuis always
to be oversupplied with beef cattle. Should the United States market
be opened to these cattle, which are lightweight and infest4ed witl
ticks but are not otherwise objectionable, prices would advance; somic
thousands of cattle could be shipped annually from the nortl-coant'
ports to New Orleans. and there would be incentive to Ibred a better
grade of cattle. Practically no sheep are raised and but few goats.
Hogs are raised to some extent, but the breed has greatly (Ieterior-
ated. Horses and mules are raised, but very few are offered for ex-
port. A pack mule can be had for $50 to $60 gold, while a good ,sal-
dle mule will bring $150, and occasionally more.
Statistics with respect to farming operations are not available.
Except bananas, plantains, coconuts, and coffee, the export, uf 1agri-
cultural products are almost negligible. The country proiiie-, corn,
beans, and sugar as staple food crops, a little rice, sonie \\heat. plan-
tains, bananas, potatoes, yams, tomatoes, and other ve'etalilles, con-
siderable coffee, fruits of various kinds, and sufficient poultry andl
eggs for the requirements of the people. Sugar is usually made by
small mills, which frequently make the alcoholic liquor known ;a-
aguardiente, in which the Government maintains a monopoly. Tie
sugar is usually sold in brown cakes, but refined sugar i- made by
the modern factory and distillery near Ceiba on the north coa.rt
and also by the factory established within the past year at San
Pedro Sula. Although sugar valued at $414,230 figured in the 1917
exports; considerable sugar is imported from the neighboring Central
American Republics and is even hauled 100 miles or inmore inland on
ox carts.
Development of New Industries.
Owing to the scarcity of supplies at home and to the demanil
abroad for products, Honduras is developing new inmlustries which
may become permanent and important. Shipments of fustic wood
amounting to some $104,159 in 1917 were directly due to the de-
mand in the United States for dyestuffs. The deniatnd for mangrove
bark for tanning and logwood for dyeing met. with little response;
the same may be said about the coroza or coliune nut, which ha';
relatively about the same value for oil as the coconut, and which
until this year was gathered and slipped only in very small quanti-
ties on insistent demands from the United States for sample lots.
However, the fact that the cohune palm grows abundantly through-
out the north coast region led to a great deal of work being done by
the consular representatives and others to build up what promised
to be a large industry, and the current year is seeing these expecta-
tions partially realized. Shipments are now being made, and re-
cently 100 pack mules were purchased in the vicinity of the capital
to be used on the north coast in getting the nuts to convenient ship-
ping points. Already there is talk of cultivating the coliune paint
in case the demand proves constant and the price offered is re-



The cultivation of henequen has been taken up by an American
company and by various landed proprietors on lands lying between
Tegucigalpa and the Pacific. This work has been undertaken on a
scale which promises to make fiber an important contributor to the
commerce of Honduras.
There was considerable talk in 1917 about the culture of rice, im-
ports of which amount to about $100,000 a year. and this year it is
reported that more rice is being grown.
Demand for dyestuffs led to a renewal of'interest in the once
flourishing indigo industry, and considerable indigo is now being
Scarcity of wheat flour, owing to lack of supplies from the United
States, which shipped flour and flour products amounting to about
$320,000 to this country in the fiscal year 1915-16, led the Govern-
ment of Honduras and various local authorities to urge the sowing
of wheat, and some small mills have been bought with which to
grind the crop.
Little Manufacturing-National Orafts Sebool.
Manufacturing in Honduras is in its infancy. The manufacture
of cane sugar has been started very successfully, with alcohol and
alcoholic liquors as by-pioducts. There is a successful boat-build-
ing establishment on Roatan Island, off the north coast. Aside from
these industries the only factories are those called into existence to
meet local requirements, such as ice and soda-water factories, brew-
eries, soap and candle works, small sawmills and woodworking estab-
lishments, shoe factories. and charcoal burning, tile making, and
cigar and cigarette making establishments. The people are not
given to industrial pursuits, and the only so-called cottage industries
are cigarette making, panama-hat making, and garment making;
sewing machines can be found in the most remote localities, and
cheap clothing is ended in the markets beside onions, butter, native
-ugar, and other products of the country. Cheap red pottery and a
kind of coarse matting are also native products.
A national school of arts and crafts in the capital is training
young men in wood and iron work and in masonry, so that there is
hope that in time the country will hove some artisans capable of
producing many things that now must be imported, or, more often,
gone without.
Labor Conditions-Pinances.
With a tendency toward rising wages, there has been a scarcity of
employment. Labor in general is not organized. Ordinary laborers
are more or less nomadic. Many of them are drawn to the big planta-
tions where the rate of pay is about $1 gold per day. In the cities
laborers usually get 50 cents gold and in the country from 25 to 37S
cents gold with food. Payment, however, is actually made in silver.
While the rates of pay may seem small, the labor can not compare
in efficiency with that of the United States, and the scale of living
likewise is materially different.
Some Americans find employment here, including railroad men,
mining engineers, and office men.
The financial system of the country is in a state of evolution.
Business is conducted by three banks with special charters and branch


offices, which are permitted to issue paper currency. Two of these
banks are controlled by United States capital. The coinage of the
country is silver, which has had a fluctuating value. Not until 1918
was it stabilized. Much of the silver coin has been drained from the
channels of circulation by the rise in the price of bullion. Various
plans have been under consideration for the financial relief of the
country, but none have yet been adopted except to permit the circula-
tion of United States silver and paper currency on the Ia:sis of 111
for 2 pesos.
Exports to United States by Ports.
The value of exports to the united States invoiced :t .Am1wrican
consulates and consular agencies in Honduras is shown in tlhe fol-
lowing table, it being understood that Amapala is the port of T'gu-
cigalpa and of all the southern half of Honduras:
Ports. 1916 1917 Ports. 1916 .11i7

Ceiba..................... 1, 793, T4 2, 231,.909 Puerto Cortes............ SI .2,n R0 $1,410.:303
Tela.................. 651.270 69j,30 Amapala............... 1,610,113 1,725, al
Routan................ 19. 609 2S7,705
Bonacca.............. 6S, 702 75,423 Total............... 5, 52, % 6,12,456

Honduran Trade Principally with United States.
The United States now takes practically all of the exports of Hon-
duras and furnishes practically all of its imports. Normally Eng-
land, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Japan, and other coun-
tries share in the import trade. War conditions have cut off most of
the supplies except from the United States, but there are some re-
exports from New York and other cities which are credited to the
foreign trade of the United States, so that the figures are somewhat
misleading. Strong German houses hold a predominant position,
especially in the capital and the southern part of Honduras, and in
San Pedro Sula, which is the commercial metropolis of northern
Honduras. There. are also French, Spanish, Engli.h, Turkish, and
Chinese merchants in Honduras, and all of these have a certain pre-
dilection for the merchandise from their native lands. American
interests are inadequately represented, and American trade with
Honduras will experience a sudden decline when world-wide chan-
nels of commerce and communication are opened: for Germany, Eng-
land, France, and other countries are already working to get a share
of Honduran trade.
The foreign commerce of Honduras should expand gradually but
surely. The statistics for the past three or four years show that war
conditions have had their effect on the business of the country, caus-
ing suspension of work on important projects and delaying the
beginning of work on new enterprises, and so contributing to a
slackening up of trade in general. The Honduran Government's
figures of imports for 1913-14 give as the total $6,024,930, of which
the United States furnished 79.4 per cent, Germany 7.8 per cent,
England 6.9 per cent, France 2.1 per cent, and Central America 1.4
per cent. In 1914-15 the imports dropped to $5,874,797, of which
the United States furnished 88.1 per cent; and in 1915-16 there was
a further decrease to. $4,452,109, the United States furnishing 91.7
per cent. Later statistics are not available from Government sources.


declared Exports to Unitesd states.
Exports to the United States from Honduras in 1916, as certifd
in consular invoices, amounted to $0,58,958 and in 1917 to 6,426,4 ,
an increase of $848,498. The increase is in value rather than in
The detailed exports from the whole of Honduras to the United
States for the years 1916 and 1917, as given in the annual declared
export returns of the American consulates, are as follows:

1I16 1917
Quantity. Valin. QXantlty. Value.

Peru .....................................pound.. 34 21.423 ............ ..........
Liquidambar ........................... 1,560 338 14,097 $5,651
Bananas....................................-.. Ccnhl.. 10,664,0 2,885,776 10,941.93 8,451,21
Coconuts....................................number.. 11,076.982 301,758 12,492,059 421.897
Coffee......................................pounds.. 395,264 43,260 606,827 61,510
Cohuae nuts and kernels...................... .... ............ .. .... 17.22 -1,
Copra..................... 93, 94 7, 37 209,570 20,732
Hats. panrma ............................number.. 412 619 922 1m9
Hides fnd skins:
Deer............ ...................... pounds.. 110,7l9 32,418 10S,24 4,068
Other, 1,489,587 352.139 1,049,834 R91,472
Indigo........................................... do.... 79 1,.210 1,770 1 0
Oranges.......... ........................... boxes.. 5,011 4,530 3,145 3,380
Meial a nd ores:
Antimonyore .......................... pounds.. 17,678 2,418 ............ ............
Bullion and concentrates-
(old................................. ounos.. 14,08 291,721 12,563 28,775 1,754,471 1,106,M4 1,442.816 1,, 77
Coin ........... ........................ ...... ..... ....... 93,795 ... .......... ...
Ore..................................poawds............... ........... 15,50 5
Plantain..................................numbr.. 692.075 6,029 049,909 11,1i6
Robber.crude............................ pounds.. Ir, 138 49,435 64,727 26,68
Sarsaparilla.................................... do..,, 44,823 10,993 447,78 10,404
Sugar,crvstallized 7,021,590 314,779 8,284,590 414,290
Balsa ...... ............................... logs.. 674 1,744
Fusti................. ....................tea .. 2,025 54,825 3,01i WSMi
Mabogpay, cedar, and niauubflacres of....... fos .. 193,000 10,W6 50,714 2,367
Al other articles ......... ......... ............................. 3,887 ............ ,374
Total....................................................... 5,582,938 95 ........ .... 6,426,4.5

Trade Balance of Honduras-Articles in Demand.
During the 15-year period ending with the fiscal year 1915-16,
the value of imports into Honduras was $50,239,109, and the value
of the exports from the country was $40,246,313. Although these
figures are furnished by the Government of Honduras, it is well
known that the practice of levying a tax on exports tends to encour-
age undervaluation. and it is probable that the real value of the ex-
ports is greater than the value of the imports, leaving an economic
balance in favor of Honduras instead of against it, as the statistics
seem to indicate.
The requirements of Honduras do not differ materially from those
of other Latin American countries in which there are few manufac-
turing industries and in which there is little activity in the construc-
tion of public utilities. There is greater demand for such necessities
as groceries, canned goods, cotton goods, and shoes than for articles
of luxury. Little jewelry is imported, but automobiles are in use
wherever there are roads. Little fine millinery is sold where the
practice of the women is to go bareheaded or to wear a shawl, but
ribbons, embroideries, and laces are in demand. American shoes are
favored, and high-heeled and ornamental shoes are preferred.


By Coallllr Agent Morton P. Moom, July 15,
As Honduras is very mountainous and communication as yet is
primitive and expensive, practically no goods entering the country
by way of the Atlantic ports reach that part of Honduras bordering
on the Pacific Ocean. Southern Honduras therefore seeks its sup-
plies through its only Pacific port, Amapala, situated on Tigre
land in Fonseca Bay. Through Amapala is supplied all the
country between the borders of Salvador and Nicaragua and as far
inland as the capital, Tegucigalpa. Exceedingly little of the im-
ports passing through the port is assimilated there, almost all being
sent on to the inland towns; likewise few of the exports originate in
the port. The total imports coming into Honduras through the port
of Amapala amounted to 8,350 tons in 1917, while the exports from
heie amounted to 950 tons.
General Merchandise Firm Needed.
There is at present an urgent need of a wholesale and retail general
merchandising house in Amapala. The departure of the Germans
from Amapala has left the port with but two houses (one American
and the other French) to supply this trade, and these do not carry a
complete line of stock. There is no place here to buy hardware, farm
machinery, motors, gasoline engines, and other general merchandise.
It has been the custom for small storekeepers in the interior to come
to Amapala and buy their supplies direct from the German stores,
which carried a full line of most necessities. These small merchants
trade their imported stocks for hides, skins, dyewoods, crude rubber,
and other products of the country. In turn they traded these prod-
ucts to the German merchant in Amapala. Few of these small mer-
chants import directly. The blacklisting of the German firms lias
had the effect of breaking up their means of disposing of the prod-
ucts of the country by shipment to the United States, and has for the
present disrupted their selling organization, owing to the difficulties
they experience in obtaining merchandise. This has made a great
decrease in the commerce passing through this port.
Any American concern which seeks to enter this field should be
strongly capitalized. Unless an American general merchandising
house is established in Amapala to trade imported American mer-
chandise, for which there is a ready market, for the produce of the
country, this lucrative business must return to German hands at the
ued of the war.
Farm Machinery should be Demonstrated.
Besides this need of an American trading company. there is also
a need of resident demonstrators to teach the people the use of Ameri-
can machinery of all kinds. A great deal of thorough training must
be given these people before they will be ready to grasp the superior-
ity of machines over primitive methods. They are still using bent
sticks to plow with and do not understand the merits of the modern
American plow with its replaceable shares, as no one has ever given
them a thorough and practical demonstration of its value. A demon-
strator should have a fluent knowledge of Spanish and should stay
in the towns he visits long enough that the results of the use of mod-
ern farm machinery might be shown by the increased crops. As in


the specific instance of plows, so it is in practically all other lines.
Hondurans will buy modern implements after they are convinced that
it is infinitely superior to the old way of doing things, and when
they know how to use them.
Increased Grain Crops.
The declaration of war by the United States in April, 1917, had
the immediate effect of causing a rise in freight rates. As the United
States had hitherto been the chief source of supply for many food-
stuffs, such as wheat., rice, and flour, it was considered very probable
that it would not be able to continue supplying these needs. The
National Government, acting through the heads of the various De-
partments, began an active campaign looking toward an increased
planting of cereals. Spanish records, still extant, show that in the
past the )Departmient of Choluteca made extensive shipments of wheat
to Spain. To-day the only crops consist of bananas, corn, beans; and
rice. The cessation of shipments of wheat flour from the United
States soon caused a great scarcity and, finally, a total lack of flour
in this part of Honduras. This lack was later relieved by the receipt
of a shipment of Chilean flour at this port.
Poorly distributed rains and high winds at harvest time made the
1917 corn and bean crops shorter than had been expected. A pre-
ceding time of famine had caused all stores to be depleted. For-
tunately, the crop proved sufficient for the entire population of the
country. At the present writing, the 1918 crop appears to be in good
condition, and unless unexpected drought or blight appears it should
be more than sufficient for the needs of the country. as fully 20 per
Scent more land was planted this year to grain crops.
Steamship Service at Amapala.
Early in April, 1917, the Ward Line, which late in 1916 had estab-
lished a direct steamship service via the Panama Canal, announced
that it had decided to suspend its service immediately. At present
the only steamers touching at Amapala are those of the Pacific Mail
Steamship Co. (American), running from San Francisco to Panama;
and a few lumber schooners, notably those of the Gulf Mail Steam-
hllip Co. (American), that also run from San Francisco to Panama.
These sailings are very irregular and are constantly becoming fewer,
,owing to the lack of freight offered to and from this port. Practi-
'*ally the entire tonnage of shipping that entered this port in 1917
n:a. under the American flag. This amounted to 62 clearances, with
a total of 99,700 net tons.
Tlhe Pacific Steam Navigation Co.. a British line, has appointed
:in Iagent at this port, and it is likely that the company will soon be
in (oipl)etition with the Pacific Mail Steuamship Co. for the freight J
;anl passenger traffic along this coast. N
In September, 1917, a long-felt necessity was met by the estab-
linlllent of a biweekly launch service between Amapala and Tempis-
qlue, Nicaragua. This line of launches is owned by Nicaraguans.
This service was much needed as, owing to the irregular and infre-
quent sailings, both passenger and freight service was subject to
great. delay. Tempisque is the Nicaraguan port on the Estero Real,
which empties into the Bay of Fonseca, and is about two hours mule-
back ride from the terminus of the railroad running between Chinan-
I.dega, Managua, and Corinto,


lppetlaity l o Prottable Launmo Line.
An American line of light-draft launches with a speed of 12 to
15 miles an hour, and capable of carrying about 10 passengers and
their baggage between this port and San Lorenzo on the mainland
would be a paying proposition. All travel for points in the interior
ars the existing facilities, which consist of a few old launches run
by native boatmen, which are constantly out of repair and at best
are slow and unsatisfactory. They always wait to take advantage of
the tide, and hence often leave in the middle of the night. The dit-
tance is 21 miles and at present it takes from 2 to '.1 hour-, to make
the trip.
From San Lorenzo to Tegucigalpa their, is a hard-surfacc auto-
mobile road of 130 kilometers (81 miles). A regular line of Ameri-
can-owned passenger automobiles handles the greater part of the
traffic, although a Honduran company runs a line which gets a few
passengers and which handles the rail for the Government. The
charge for passage from San Lorenzo to the capital by theoze auto-
mobiles equals $10 in American currency; the trip takes hours.
Freight from San Lorenzo to the capital is handled by American-
owned automobile trucks or by native oxcarts and mules.
Land Tenure in Honduras.
Land tenure in Honduras is extremely liberal to both natives and
foreigners. All unclaimed land belongs to the municipalities, and
there is an enormous amount, of such land. A foreigner, after hav-
ing resided in a town for six months, may make application to be
made a recognized resident of the town. Such action does not affect
his citizenship, although it, does make him liable to all municipal
taxes. Having made his application, he may then ask the munici-
pality to turn over to him certain vacant lands that are to his taste,
and this will be done, proper records being made in the municipal
archives. This land is never given in fee simple. The owner and
his heirs and assigns may retain possession of the same as long as
it remains fenced and cultivated. He will receive as much un-
occupied land as lie requests, provided he fences it in and cultivates
a reasonable amount of it. In assigning such land, the foreign
owner may not sell the land itself, but only the improvements that
he has made. The purchaser, upon registering the bill of sale of
the improvements and interests of the former owner, becomes recog-
nized as the lawful holder of the land.
Cultivation of Henequen-Castor Beans.
In the lowlands close to the Pacific coast it is possible to raise an
inferior quality of henequen. This plant will grow in a poor and
rocky soil. By raising henequen close to the coast, expensive trans-
portation charges are avoided. In the highlands a very superior
quality of henequen may be raised. It is possible to begin cutting
the leaves of the plant 18 months after planting, and from then on

may be had at about 50 cents United States currency a (ay. The
highland henequen shows an average length of 6 feet to the fiber
and has a great tensile strength; it is by nature white in color,
thereby saving the cost of bleaching and also conserving the strength
usually lost in bleaching. Henequen is practically an indestructible
crop. Cattle will not eat it, no pest attacks it, and it will not burn.


Interest is now being shown in the cultivation of the castor bean
in this section. The oil from this plant is in demand for aeroplane
lubrication. It grows naturally here, bearing within 8 months after
planting. Ground suitable for castor-bean planting may be cleared
at a cost of $5 to $6 a plot of 8,100 square yards, with a charge of
about $1 for seeding the same space. This work is usually done on
contract, and the figures given are the average price paid for the
work. The natives have long extracted oil from their bean crops,
and it is found superior in quality to that imported from the United
Hog-Raising Industry-Packing.
For years in the Department of Choluteca, bordering on Fonseca
Bay, the natives have raised hogs with great success, using bananas
as a feedstuff. Lately an American has embarked in this enterprise
here with elqual success. For the purpose of feeding hogs, a large
banana, indigenous to the climate, is used, which matures quickly
and is very rich in hydrocarbons. For fattening the natives use a
type of hog that is similar to our western and southern razorback,
but the American spoken of has crossed a good strain of American
]og with the native hog to good advantage. Unlike the American
custom of fattening hogs during the summer for fall marketing,
the Hondurans fatten hogs all the year round. In Honduras hogs
are raised principally for the purpose of making lard. It is difficult
to gauge the average price per pound of live hogs here, as they are
usually sold for lump sums on the hoof. As near as may be aver-
aged, about 13 cents United States currency is the price paid per
pound on the hoof.
With proper refrigeration and a style of packing the finished
product similar to that used by many of the Chicago packers for
exportation to the Tropics, it would be possible to make smoked pork
products for local consumption at a profit.. Smoked ham and
bacon sell here from 100 to 150 per cent higher than in the United
States. If, however, such curing and smoking is done with an eye
to exporting the finished product to the United States, location on
this coast would prove to be a disadvantage, owing to the distance
from markets in the United States.
Honduran Hide and Skin Market.
In .March, 1917, the National Congress passed an act raising the
export duty on hides and skins. The new law became effective on
April 1, 1917, and increased the rate on hides from $1 to $4 United
States currency, per hundredweight, and that on skins from $2 to
$6 per hundredweight. Owing to the unsettled condition of the
leather market in the United States, there was a decided fall in the
prices offered here for hides in the early part of the year. This led to
a subsequent fall in the number shipped, as owners refused to take the
price offered by local shippers. In July the price was about 30 ceiits
;i pound, and by October it had fallen to 15 cents a pound. Soon the
(ermans began to buy hides for hoarding purposes, and their de-
mand became so strong that practically no hides are being bought
at the present time for shipment to the United States. Practically
;ill the hides that have been offered for many months past are now
in German hands. These are being held at a heavy expense, as they


have to be immersed in a disinfectant every six months, in order to
comply with the local law, and to preserve them from the effects of
the climate and insects.
Tariff Changes-Metric Gross Weight to be Marked.
In the past few months the following items have been placed on
the free list for importation into Honduras: Salts of quinine, mos-
quito netting (both cloth and metal), carbide of calcium, barbed wire
and staples, automobiles and accessories, cement, and agricultural
and mining implements and machinery. There should be a good
market in the interior for these articles on account of the lowering of
the net price to the consumer.
American exporters should note that the tariff of import duties
of Honduras is based upon the gross metric weight of the entire
package. There are but one or two exceptions to this rule, as in the
case of diamonds. This metric gross weight must not only appear
on the consular invoice but must also be plainly marked on the con-
tainer. No tare is allowed. The package or case, wrapping or other
covering, is weighed and appraised at the same rate as the contents.
A variation of 10 per cent is permitted between the actual and the
marked weight. If the variation exceeds this 10 per rent a fine of
50 per cent additional duty is collected. American exporters should
use strong though lightweight cases"and coverings on their packages,
which should be accurately weighed and marked according to the
metric system, since failure to do so causes inconvenience and in-
creased expense for their Honduran customers.
Declared Exports to United States.
Exports from this port to the United States amounted to $1,3S4,.91
in 1915, to $1,610.163 in 1916, and to $1,725,811 in 1917. Of these
exports, silver and gold bullion and hides formed by far the greater
part. The following table shows the quantity and value of the
declared exports from the port in 1917 and a comparison with the
preceding year:


Antimony ore..............................pounds..
Cylinders and drums........................number..
Fustic............................................ tons..
Gold bullion and precipitates................. ounces..
Hides, cattle ................................. pounds..
Rubber, crude
Silver bullion and precipitates................ounces..
Silver ore.................................... pounds..
Deer......................................... do....
Turpentine................................... gallons..
All other articles.,.................................

1916 1917

Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value.

14,170 2,189 ....... ... ...........
6,480 917 117.651 I 11,364
56 208 119 800
............ ........ 2,478
14,208 294,7 21 12,92 268,773
972,946 194,899 C40,159 150,322
759 1,215 1,770 1,670
6,277 2,442 9, 23 2,S18
1,754,471 1,106 219 1,49A, 000 1,277,028
............ .. .......... 15,5 0 595
28, Gi5 C., I-1 34, 5!2 8,329
..... ..... ......... ,223 205
............ ............ 350 275
............ 723 ......... 1,140
............ 1,610,13 ............ 1,725,811

WASHING I'O' : (.r,\'l'I':. ENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1918



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