Food Security Outlook Update

Falling purchasing power restricts access to basic food

April 2019

April - May 2019

El corredor seco está en fase 2 y 3, el resto del país en fase 1.

June - September 2019

El corredor seco está en fase 2 y 3, el resto del país en fase 1.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The National Institute for Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) – Guatemala’s weather service – forecasts that the rainy season will begin throughout the country in the second half of May. Above-average temperature forecasts and irregular and below-average rainfall from July could affect crop growth, primarily in the Dry Corridor.

  • Preparation of land has begun and planting for the Primera season is expected to begin in late April.

  • Bean prices remain stable and below the five-year average. However, maize prices have been high in recent months and well above the five-year average.

  • The poorest households in the Dry Corridor, which have depended on the market as a food source and whose incomes have fallen throughout the lean season, have resorted to using negative coping strategies to meet their basic food needs. The food security of these households is therefore in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

CURRENT SITUATION

The poorest households in the Dry Corridor continue to rely on buying food due to the extended lean season. Recent income from labor is not enough to ensure food access. To fill this consumption gap, households have resorted to coping strategies, such as atypical migration, in terms of both times and destinations.

After peaking in March, maize production is coming to an end in the surplus-producing areas of the northern region. While there is less fresh grain, the domestic market remains supplied with stored produce and imports from Mexico. The bean harvest in Petén has already started to reach the market and will ensure supply over the coming months. Since the start of the year, wholesale maize prices have remained stable, in line with seasonality but above the five-year average. In March, the price at the Terminal market was GTQ 135.00/quintal, which is approximately 8 percent higher than the five-year average for the month. Bean prices have remained stable and slightly below average: in April, the price was GTQ 330.00, which is about 3 percent below average. The behavior of consumer prices for both products is similar across departments.

There have been slight monthly fluctuations in the cost of the basic food basket, though it has remained stable with variations of ±0.30 percent. However, the minimum agricultural and non-agricultural wages only covers about 80 percent of the cost. Day laborers who are temporarily employed in seasonal agricultural activities receive a lower income (approximately GTQ 50.00/day), all of which is used to buy basic food. In these months, demand for agricultural labor is seasonally low, with some casual labor required for preparing land for Primera planting, growing vegetables or fruit for export, tending to cattle and other minor jobs and informal trade.

The Primera production cycle begins between April and May with the rainy season. Over the coming months, household resources will be used for planting and tending maize and bean crops. Normal crop growth is expected, especially in the surplus-producing areas of the North and South. The situation could be more complicated in the Dry Corridor, where the irregular rainfall forecast for the season could affect crop growth.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

The assumptions used by FEWS NET for the most likely food security scenario for February to September 2019 have changed as follows:

Even if the domestic market is supplied with maize, the price will remain above average for the next few months. The price increased slightly in March, despite the new harvests in the northern region. This behavior is expected to continue in the following months until production from the Primera cycle production feeds through.

According to the weather service, INSIVUMEH, the rainy season is expected to start from 15–25 April for the Boca Costa and southwestern region, 15–25 May for the Central Plateau, 20–30 May for the Pacific Coast, northeastern and Caribbean regions, and between 25 May and 5 June for the northern region and the Caribbean Coast.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2019

The seasonal decline in employment and high maize prices will cause a fall in the purchasing power of households that suffered crop losses during 2018 and depend on the market for food. The lean season began early for these households and they will continue to resort to negative strategies to meet their food needs. The food security of these households will therefore be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Households that maintain minimally adequate food consumption by using strategies to meet their non-food needs will have Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security. As the lean season progresses, the situation will become more acute for some households, whose food security will gradually worsen to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Basic grain stocks in poor households decrease at this time of year, meaning it will be necessary to rely on purchases from the market for food supplies. Income from various agricultural activities during the recent employment season will enable these households to meet their food needs and purchase the necessary supplies to ensure the next production cycle. As such, they will have Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity until September 2019.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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