Food Security Outlook Update

Some areas remain in Crisis until the spring harvests

April 2018

April - May 2018

Phase 1 and 2 dans presque tout le pays, sauf dans le Nord-Est et le Haut Plateau en phase 3.

June - September 2018

L'ensemble du pays en phases 1 et 2.

IPC 2.0 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 2.0 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 2.0 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 2.0 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

  • In most parts of the country, the land has been ploughed and the printemps growing season is proceeding as normal. The April rains have facilitated sowing, except in certain regions of Nord-Est, Nord and Haut-Plateau due to climate shocks in recent months. This has affected the winter growing season, which was non-existent for some households.

  • In Nord-Ouest, above average rainfall in January caused flooding and hampered the development of winter crops, affecting income from agricultural work. The crops due to mature in February were virtually destroyed. As a result, farmers are having difficulty managing the current growing season.

  • Markets are still well supplied with local produce such as bananas, root and tuber crops and beans, but mostly with imported foodstuffs. However, prices remain high and are likely to rise in view of the current macroeconomic climate (increased budget deficit, depreciation of the Haitian gourde and a likely rise in fuel prices).

  • Some communes in Nord-Est and Haut-Plateau are still in Crisis (IPC Phase 3); the rest of the country is experiencing Minimal or Stressed (IPC Phase 1 or 2) food insecurity. The situation may be worse in Nord-Ouest. However, if the 2018 spring season is successful, meaning improved food availability and accessibility, most of the areas in Crisis or Stressed phases may change phase.

CURRENT SITUATION

 

Weather conditions: Observations on the ground indicate an uneven geographical distribution of the first rains of the season. For example, Centre and some communes in Nord have yet to receive any rain to enable them to start the spring growing season. This has also been observed in Sud and Grand’Anse, where only some communes have received the first rains and started sowing, while others are still waiting.

Farming conditions: In nearly all agro-ecological regions of the country, the land has been prepared for the spring 2018 growing season. This will be dominated by maize and beans, followed by pigeon peas and sorghum, which are also planted at this time. Sowing has already begun, due to the rains in April. In Nord and Nord-Est, where the residual effects of last September’s climate shocks are still evident, the spring growing season is being delayed by a shortage of seeds, as well as the limited economic means of the farmers, according to the bulletin from the National Food Security Coordination entity’s (CNSA) Nord observatory (March 2018). On the Central Plateau, the rainy season usually starts in May and lasts for approximately six months, hence sowing has not yet begun.

Meanwhile, rice harvests are under way in Artibonite. According to the CNSA observatory for the department, these are fairly poor harvests, despite intervention by the public authorities as part of the Caravan of Change activities, due to strong winds affecting the rice fields. The farmers are currently preparing to start the main growing season. In the irrigated area of Sud, around ten tons of rice seed have been distributed this spring to boost production, according to the Sud Departmental Agriculture Directorate (DDAS). Producers are currently receiving distributions of maize seed that was originally meant for the winter growing season but could not be used then.

Food availability: Stocks from the winter harvests, especially beans, are almost exhausted, reducing the availability of locally grown food. The current rice harvests are starting to supply markets but, for the reasons stated above, they will not be able to cover the shortfall in market supply compared with demand. Overall, markets are still very well supplied, with a clear prevalence of imported foodstuffs. Some local produce is still available: banana, root and tuber crops, breadfruit and mango.

Farm labor: Currently, the main activity providing work for the poorest households is land and seed preparation, which will continue until May. This will be followed by hoeing and weeding work, then by picking or harvesting from June. In the regions little or unaffected by last year’s climate shocks, and where the winter harvests were successful – Sud, Sud-Est, Grand’Anse and Artibonite – there is increased demand for farm workers. However, there is an insufficient supply of labor due to migration toward urban areas or the Dominican Republic, and moves toward other income-generating activities such as driving motorcycle taxis or running small businesses. In other departments such as Nord-Est, Nord, Nord-Ouest and Nippes, farmers have not been able to employ laborers due to a lack of economic means. They have, however, managed to plough their land by resorting to unpaid family labor.

Food prices: Prices for some basic foodstuffs, with the exception of locally grown black beans, rose between February and March 2018. The price of locally grown maize is continuing to increase slowly (by a monthly average of 4 percent), more noticeably on the Les Cayes, Port-au-Prince and Fond-des-Nègres markets. Meanwhile, the price of imported rice remains stable. Prices of other imported foodstuffs remain fairly stable but high. Root and tuber crops, bananas and legumes are available on the markets, but prices remain high due to the low availability of other locally grown produce.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

With most of the inferences made in the Outlook for February through September 2018 reflected in recent developments in the food security situation, this update upholds the assumptions presented in that report.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2018

A partial contraction in food supplies could keep prices for certain locally grown crops (e.g. maize and black beans) on the rise until the next harvests in June. The prices of imported crops, especially rice, may rise during the outlook period, due to the fall in the exchange rate and the adjustment to fuel prices. The Nord-Est and Haut-Plateau regions remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the spring crops are harvested and should return to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from June through September. The rest of the country is experiencing Minimal or Stressed (IPC Phase 1 or 2) food insecurity, and this is likely to continue.

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 34 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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