Food Security Outlook Update

The Primera growing season for staple grain crops is underway throughout the country

June 2013

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

  • Seasonal prices for staple grains have started to rise with the end of the second production cycle. However, they are still low enough to partially offset the loss of purchasing power by households affected by the coffee rust outbreak and crop losses from last year’s extended dry spell.​

  • With the rainy season already established early in June, the Primera growing season is underway all across the country.

  • There will be Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) throughout the country between now and September. The only exception are households in temperate highland areas suffering crop losses from last year’s extended dry spell, which will continue to face Stressed food security outcomes (IPC Phase 2) until the next harvest at the end of the year.

Current Situation

  • According to recent reports by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock-Raising (MAGA), wholesale prices for white maize are increasing in line with normal seasonal trends. The end of the Postrera harvest crops in the northern and southern reaches of the country is reducing the flow of grain to domestic markets. Movements in black bean prices are following a similar pattern to that of maize. With the good harvest at the beginning of this year, maize prices are at a five-year low. These low prices over the last few months have helped partially offset the loss of purchasing power by the households of agricultural laborers and small-scale coffee growers affected by the coffee rust outbreak. The seasonal rise in prices is expected to continue through August/September, until the harvest of Primera crops.
  • With the seasonal reduction in domestic grain supplies, including supplies of both maize and beans, there could be a visible presence of imports from Mexico, China, Argentina, or Chile for the next few months, specifically imports of black beans in the case of the latter three countries. The marketing of these crops regulates domestic market dynamics by boosting supply during the low production period for local crops.
  • According to updated field reports as of June 9 by FAO on the status of household reserves of staple grain crops, maize reserves in surplus areas were holding up, with seasonal reductions in reserves in the east and west. On the other hand, bean reserves were down in virtually all parts of the country with the end of the second harvest cycle, in line with normal seasonal trends. The dwindling reserves of both crops between now and the next harvest in August/September will make households dependent on market purchases.
  • The normalization of rainfall conditions in the last ten days of May reduced rainfall deficits in parts of the dry corridor in both the east and the west. With the rainy season well established, planting activities for Primera crops are underway in just about all parts of the country. The heavy rains at the end of May caused localized flooding and minor losses of staple grain and market garden crops in the northern part of the country. The forecast for normal to above-normal rainfall for the month of June has held up. The combination of rainy weather and high temperatures is creating conditions conducive to the development of Tar Spot disease and infestations of crop pests such as fall armyworms in fields of maize crops. There are already reports of Tar Spot disease hitting crops in parts of Quiché, Petén, and Huehuetenango Departments, though it has not yet caused too much damage. Under the conditions described above, it is highly likely that the disease will spread, though the extent of the resulting damage will depend on the developmental stage of affected crops at the time of the infestation.
  • The hurricane season in both the Atlantic and the Pacific has already begun. So far, Guatemala has not been directly impacted by any hurricane activity. The latest forecasts by various specialized agencies are still predicting an extremely active 2013 hurricane season in the Atlantic, though there is no way of establishing the probability of the country suffering a direct hit.
  • The government is planning to implement its cash transfer strategy for migrant populations through community-based temporary job creation programs (GETCo) beginning as of July and running through November. The Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Food and Nutritional Security are planning to assist 40,832 families affected by few employment options due to the coffee rust outbreak.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely food security scenario for the period from April through September 2013. A full discussion of this scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for April through September 2013.

Projected Outlook through September 2013

  • In line with normal seasonal trends, the onset of the yearly lean season will be accompanied by a steady deterioration in food security outcomes until the harvest of Primera crops in August/September. However, this deterioration in conditions should not produce any major changes in the IPC classification of acute food insecurity, according to which virtually all parts of the country should remain in Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1).
  • Conditions in areas suffering crop losses from last year’s extended dry spell are an exception, which will continue to be classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the next harvest at the end of the year. The current outlook period will be marked by the depletion of grain reserves from the last harvest, limited employment options with the end of the peak demand period for unskilled labor, and a seasonal rise in staple grain prices at the very time when very poor and poor households are most dependent on market purchases. However, the coping strategies normally employed by this group of households such as the sale of small animals, the gathering of wild plant foods, etc. should help offset seasonal food and income gaps.

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 approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics