The hot, steamy climate of Honduras is ideal for growing fruit, and for many years the banana industry has dominated the life of the country. Today, Honduras has developed other exports, such as coffee, sugar, and beef. About half of the Honduran population lives in the countryside, in small villages or isolated settlements. Many are poor farmers, growing corn, beans, or rice for their own use. Life is hard, and many people go hungry. Land is unevenly distributed as evidently, wealthy families and fruit companies own 60 percent of the land.
Most Hondurans are mestizos – mixed descendants of native Indians and the Europeans who arrived in the 16th century. Some are descended from black Africans who were shipped to the Caribbean as slaves. Some are white (European) or Indian.
Banana exports are important to the economy of Honduras. Many are grown on huge plantations, particularly around La Lima in northeastern Honduras. Laborers work long hours and the pay is low. Cutters regularly have to carry loads of bananas weighing about 88 lb (40 kg). Once cut down, the bananas are washed, inspected, and weighed into boxes, ready to be shipped abroad.