Food Security Outlook Update

A difficult macroeconomic environment and a mixed summer growing season

August 2019

August - September 2019

La plupart du pays est en phase 2, à l'exception de certaines poches en phase 1 et 3.

October 2019 - January 2020

La plupart du pays est en phase 2, à l'exception de certaines poches en phase 1 et 3.

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 poorest households are still relying on negative coping strategies to meet their food and non-food needs. Some parts of the country have Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). Most regions are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), including La Gonâve, or are experiencing Stressed food security (IPC Phase 2).

  • Below-average precipitation was observed in July. Spring crops sown before the first dekad of April produced more or less satisfactory results, in contrast to plots sown at the end of April or in May. Roots and tubers, bananas and other fruits are also available to some degree.

  • The availability of agricultural labor is very mixed. Most people are resorting to other sources of income, such as urban migration and self-employment.

  • The prices of local agricultural products (maize, beans) and imported products, including rice, are above last year’s prices and their five-year average.

CURRENT SITUATION

 

Weather conditions: Below-average precipitation was observed in July. However, during the first 20 days of August precipitation levels increased, restoring soil moisture and offering better prospects to farmers for the summer growing season.

Agriculture: The poor performance of the spring growing season, which usually accounts for more than 50 percent of the country’s annual agricultural production, has negatively impacted the start of the summer growing season. Having consumed the few seeds harvested during the spring growing season, some farmers do not have sufficient financial resources to buy more seeds for the summer growing season. Plots sown with beans in June are already maturing, especially in Grand'Anse and Artibonite. In Nippes, plots sown with beans between the end of July and the beginning of August are developing as normal, while those sown at the beginning of July have been negatively affected by drought. In addition, mountain beans and peanuts are being planted in central Haut-Plateau.

The mid-August rains provided favorable conditions for the development of crops such as bananas, pigeon peas and yams. However, rain showers and strong winds from August 15 to 17 in Grand’Anse affected these plantations. Some bean plots that were almost ready for harvesting were also affected.

Food availability: At the local level, beans, maize, bananas, roots and tubers, and harvested wild products, such as breadfruit and some fruits, are the most widely available foods. On the whole, markets are well supplied, particularly through food imports, as is usually the case.

Food prices: Despite the relative stability of the exchange rate since June, the prices of various foodstuffs, especially grain maize, local beans and imported rice, have maintained their upward trend. For local products, price fluctuations depend on crop yields and physical market access. Imported products, particularly rice, continue to be affected by unstable sociopolitical conditions.

Agricultural labor and other sources of income: Since June, agricultural activities in some areas have largely involved soil preparation and sowing activities for the summer growing season, although this has slowed down due to losses in the spring growing season. Agricultural labor is available, but at a relatively high cost compared with farmers’ means. In La Gonâve, for example, agricultural labor is limited and largely revolves around fisheries, transportation (motorcycle taxis) and migration. In other areas, many households also have access to alternative sources of income, including, for example, urban migration or migration to the Dominican Republic and remittances from relatives abroad. However, a number of households have more limited access to these sources of income.

Current food security: Livelihoods are continuing to deteriorate, mainly due to rising prices and irregular spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall. The purchasing power of the poorest is continuing to decline and some households are still using negative coping strategies to obtain food (such as consuming seed stocks that should have been kept for the summer growing season, purchasing food on credit, reducing health spending), while others are having difficulties covering non-food expenditure. Most of the country’s regions are therefore Stressed (IPC Phase 2), while others are in Crisis  (IPC Phase 3), with some experiencing Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1).

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

With most of the assumptions made in the Outlook for June 2019 to January 2020 reflected in recent developments in the food security situation, this update upholds the assumptions presented in that report.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH JANUARY 2020

 

Between August and September 2019: The poor performance of the spring growing season has negatively impacted the summer growing season. The availability of local products is therefore expected to improve only partially, and food access is expected to remain low due to high food prices. The poorest households will continue to use negative coping strategies, and parts of the country will therefore face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes. However, for a small number of areas, the situation will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

Between October 2019 and January 2020: The second period of the scenario (October–January) will coincide with the summer/autumn harvests and with the start of the winter growing season in plains and wet mountain areas. Food consumption is expected to remain stable or even improve in some areas, partly because of harvests but also because of seasonal increases in agricultural income. The availability of some local products will lead to a relative decline in food prices, while an increase in the flow of remittances from Haitian migrants to their relatives will increase the circulation of foreign currencies, slightly stabilizing the gourd/United States dollar exchange rate. The use of negative coping strategies could therefore decrease, improving the situation of some specific areas previously in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

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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