Food Security Outlook

Possibility of near-average harvests, but food security remains fragile

June 2021

June - September 2021

October 2021 - January 2022

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
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

  • Despite below-average rainfall observed since April, crop development remains normal overall. Near-average spring maize and bean harvests will be observed in July and will help to improve poor households’ food access in the country, at least between July and September.

  • The prevailing socio-political and security climate remains unstable while the president continues to pursue his political agenda, which is contested by the population. It is highly likely that the socio-political turmoil will intensify, with adverse effects on informal activities, market supply, and the incomes of poor and very poor urban households.

  • The gourde/US dollar exchange rate continues to depreciate, amplifying the volatility of households’ purchasing power. The official exchange rate is more than 91 gourdes to 1 US dollar. Imported commodity prices, which are strongly correlated to the informal market exchange rate, will remain significantly higher than the average. 

  • In areas that are structurally vulnerable to climate shocks, poor households who have undergone successive shocks resulting in below-average harvests will be forced to adopt Crisis strategies (consuming unripe products or seeds, selling wood, reducing quality and/or quantity of meals, and the like) to maintain their current food consumption, and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.



Current situation

COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports from the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), from May 7 to June 7, 2021, the number of COVID-19 cases increased by more than 22 percent, rising from 13,255 to 16,206 cases, an increase not seen since the peak in May 2020. Deaths increased by over 30 percent during the same period, bringing the total number of deaths to 333.

This upward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, following the detection of two new COVID-19 variants in Haiti, prompted the Haitian government to declare a state of emergency for a duration of three weeks, from May 24, then extend it every 15 days.

The government has also implemented new restrictions to control the spread of the virus, including emergency school closures, except for those where official exams are underway, a 50-percent reduction of staff working in public and private institutions, and encouraging working from home. A curfew has been imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

Socio-political situation. Clashes between armed gangs in the capital’s various poor districts, notably Martissant, Bicentenaire, Pétion-Ville, Croix-des-Bouquets, Bas Delmas, and Cité Soleil continually hamper economic activity and cause deaths, injuries, and population displacements. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 13,000 people have been displaced in the capital since June 1.

Insecurity in Port-au-Prince is limiting the functioning of markets such as Croix-des-Bossales, Croix-des-Bouquets, and Bolosse and hindering the normal flow of goods. This latent war between gang leaders in Martissant, Bicentenaire, and Fontamara in particular has cut the capital off from the four departments in the Grand Sud region (Sud-Est, Nippes, Sud, and Grand’Anse), and a large part of the Ouest (Gressier, Léogâne, Grand-Goâve, and Petit-Goâve). This situation has caused a disruption in the supply to markets in Port-au-Prince, as wholesale traders of local products, called “Madame Sara,” are only able to transport their products — most of which are perishable — to the Bizoton area in the commune of Carrefour (in the southern part of the capital). Businesses located in the southern part of the capital have been closed for nearly two weeks, while

public transportation is operating at a below-normal capacity. A similar observation has been made at the large downtown market in Port-au-Prince (Croix-des-Bossales, which supplies other markets) following clashes between gang leaders in Saline, Cité Soleil, and Bas Delmas, in addition to other law enforcement interventions to regain control of this area.

Moreover, due to the fact that the fuel storage facilities are located in Carrefour (south of Port-au-Prince), clashes in Martissant cause fuel shortages in the capital and in nearly the entire country, given supply challenges. 

The official exchange rate, which was 88.85 gourdes to 1 US dollar as of May 20, 2021, is approximately 91 gourdes as of June 14, 2021 (compared to 111 gourdes in June 2020). Imported food prices, which are strongly correlated to the informal market exchange rate (which is already bordering on 115 gourdes) have therefore maintained their upward trend.

Rainfall conditions and their impact on agricultural production. Average rainfall in early March supported the launch of spring season activities in most parts of the country. Below-average rainfall was certainly observed between April and May in nearly all parts of the national territory; however, their regularity allows for adequate soil moisture levels (Figures 2 and 3), which promotes normal crop development, whereas sowing activities have begun in the Centre department, particularly in central Haut Plateau.

In addition to harvesting bananas, roots and tubers, breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), and mangoes, the start of the maize harvests has even been observed on the peninsula of Sud and Grand’Anse. Additionally, soil moisture levels are beneficial for livestock farming and for crops with longer cycles such as roots and tubers.

However, poor households that were adversely affected by successive shocks in previous years (such as socio-political crises and natural disasters, in addition to chronic economic crisis) have limited access to inputs, which has significantly reduced the surface area of cultivated land. According to the May 2021 bulletin from the National Coordination Agency for Food Security (CNSA), “the quantity of cultivated land remains low, even in irrigated areas,” especially in Artibonite, where water flows in irrigation canals have significantly diminished due to sand encroachment.

Markets and prices. The markets remain adequately supplied, except during armed clashes between various criminal groups in the Haitian capital. Currently, the most widely available local products are roots and tubers, bananas, breadfruit, green maize (recently harvested maize), and various mango varieties in particular. Food prices continued to increase across nearly all urban markets through June, with some slight drops in May for local products (maize and black beans) following the early harvests observed in some production areas, particularly in Grand Sud (FEWS NET Price Watch, May 2021). Prices for products such as cooking oil, wheat flour, sugar, and the like have increased moderately, fluctuating between 3 and 7 percent on average during the same period (April to May). At the national level, local products have followed their typical upward seasonal trend during the lean season.

For all varieties of imported rice in particular, prices followed a relatively stable trend from January to May (less than 4 percent on average), reflecting the prices observed on the international market, despite gradual appreciation of the gourde/US dollar exchange rate. All prices are significantly higher than the five-year average as a result of low food accessibility from 2016 to 2021.

Livestock conditions. Fodder and water availability is average overall. Thus, the animals’ physical conditions are normal, except for poultry impacted by Newcastle disease, especially in Grand’Anse. It is noteworthy that very poor households own very few animals, and even fewer large livestock. Conversely, they own a few goats which generally come from herding.

Agricultural labor and other income sources. The primary sources of income for the very poor include selling labor, harvested products, wood/charcoal, small-scale informal trade, and migration. Labor income is limited because of farmers’ limited investment capabilities this year due to the residual impacts of successive climate shocks. With very few harvested products at the moment, with July being the normal harvest period for the entire country, income from this source currently accounts for very little. Wood and charcoal sales are functioning near normal. Poor households in urban areas earn below-average income from small-scale trade, which has been disrupted due to socio-political turmoil and armed clashes between gangs. Furthermore, migration to the Dominican Republic, a significant source of income for poor households in border areas, continues to decrease due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Dominican territory.

Impact on food security. Food security conditions continue to be impacted by high and continually rising staple food prices and households’ feeble income. Additionally, while food security conditions continue to be subject to the residual effects of last year’s and this year’s socio-political crisis, climate conditions observed since the second dekad of April have delayed the launch of spring season activities in some arid farming areas. Thus, the demand for labor is below average, even leading up to spring harvests, because farmers are having difficulty financing their seasons. For the poorest households, income from selling agricultural products and labor is suffering, in addition to their limited purchasing power with the persistent inflation of food prices.


The most likely scenario for food security from April to September 2021 is based on fundamental assumptions, in relation to the changing national context, which are:


  • Based on forecasts by the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF), rainfall will be above average between August and September.
  • It will continue to be irregularly distributed until August 2021, based on University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) forecasts.
  • Above-average and average temperatures are anticipated in the upcoming months.
  • A slightly more active than average hurricane season is expected in the Caribbean basin until November.


  • Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases, most economic activities will continue at near-average levels, both in rural and urban areas.
  • New measures established by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 will remain in effect in the short and medium terms but will not have significant direct negative impacts on poor households’ major income sources.
  • The Haitian-Dominican borders will remain closed, continuing to adversely affect the availability of food products such as flour, cooking oil, condiments, eggs, sugar, and the like.

Socio-political situation

  • Socio-political unrest is likely to worsen during the outlook period, with the main opposition parties continuing to demand an independent transition government, due to supposed problems related to current voter registration processes and growing insecurity. Increased protests will likely result in business closures and other disruptions of supply chains to urban markets, thereby impacting the availability of food sources and putting further pressure on staple food prices until February 2022.
  • It is likely that after June 2021, criminal activities (particularly armed clashes) and kidnappings for ransom by armed gang members will return to levels observed at the beginning of 2021, especially in the Grande Ravine, Village-de-Dieu, Croix-des-Bouquets, and Tabarre regions.

Agricultural production

  • The performance of the 2021 spring season would specifically be impacted by the limitation of usable agricultural area, due to high seed and input prices and the farmers’ limited capability to finance their agricultural activities themselves.
  •  However, even with below-average or erratic rainfall (in terms of geographic and temporal distribution), the NDVI index, which measures soil moisture levels, suggests that they are adequate, which is favorable for normal crop development.
  • By and large, the spring harvests will therefore be near the five-year average. However, localized deficits are likely in arid areas without irrigation systems.
  • Summer and fall harvests will be near average, thanks to average rainfall during the second part of the year.

Sources of income

  • Labor supply will be above normal due to the flow of Haitian migrants coming from the Dominican Republic, who are still unable to return because of restrictions in the neighboring territory.
  • In spite of all this, the cost of hiring agricultural laborers has not been affected, with demand near normal during this period. Thus, agricultural laborers’ income could also be near normal.
  • The income of poor people who depend on regular activities in the various border regions (Nord-Est, Centre, Ouest, Sud-Est) could be below normal due to border closures.
  • Charcoal sales will be normal; demand is always very high in urban areas. 
  • Migration to the Dominican Republic will once more be below normal due to the high prevalence of COVID-19, despite the availability and administration of vaccines.
  • Income from the sale of agricultural products will be near normal, because harvests will also be near normal.


  • The price of imported commodities will be on the rise due to the appreciation of the gourde/US dollar exchange rate, as well as that of the gourde/Dominican peso.
  • Local product prices will follow the seasonal trend; namely, a post-harvest decline. Prices are expected to drop from July, coinciding with the peak of spring harvests.
  • Market supply disruptions will likely be observed if the authorities consider measures (restricted hours and limited number of operating days for markets) to contain the new wave of COVID-19, at least during the first four months of the outlook period.

Humanitarian assistance

  • Data from the Food Security Cluster indicate that humanitarian assistance will reach around 300,000 recipients, 80 percent of which constitutes emergency humanitarian assistance, particularly in urban areas. Although this assistance will likely result in relatively conclusive outcomes in terms of food security among the recipients, access constraints (civil insecurity) and financial constraints (only 24 percent of needs covered) will again disrupt the delivery of assistance, whereas the target population is estimated at over one million people.

Macroeconomic situation

  • Severe contraction of official net foreign exchange reserves will prevent the Haitian Central Bank from being able to intervene on the foreign exchange markets to control the gourde’s gradual depreciation. In its wake, the foreign exchange rate will continue to depreciate, leading price increases for imported foods, even against the backdrop of a favorable international cereals market, especially for rice.
  • The national currency, the Haitian gourde, could depreciate at a rate similar to last year’s rate (between 100 and 125 gourdes to 1 US dollar between June and August). This will also be the case for the Dominican peso, whose exchange rate is nearly 2 gourdes in border areas.
  • Inflation will pursue its course during the scenario period, and will follow the foreign exchange trend, particularly for imported goods.
  • Conversely, remittances from abroad will increase in the wake of the positive impact of global economic recovery, especially in the United States.


Most likely food security outcomes

The period from June to September coincides with the spring harvests, in addition to summer sowing activities. The performance of this season will certainly be affected by the farmers’ feeble investment capabilities to purchase inputs, thereby limiting cultivated areas. However, near-normal harvests are possible given the favorable rainfall conditions. These factors will temporarily improve poor households’ food situation and stabilize market prices, particularly in July and August, the period during which food reserves could be sufficient. In livelihood zones where these harvests will be average (the Sud peninsula, Haut Artibonite, Centre, Nord, and the like) poorest and very poor households may be able to temporarily avoid resorting to Crisis strategies (consuming early harvests or seeds, selling wood, reducing quality of meals, and the like) and will, to a certain extent, consume their own production.

However, the harvests of poor households will typically be insufficient to meet their food needs; they will still be heavily reliant on the market throughout the entire outlook period. Staple food prices, which will remain significantly higher than the five-year average, alongside income levels generally below average, will nevertheless continue to negatively impact these households’ food access. In the wake of this, Stressed strategies (purchasing on credit, livestock sales, and the like) will be adopted. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will therefore be observed in most areas of the country.

In arid agricultural areas, which experienced water deficits at the start of the spring season, and during the erratic rainy season, harvest deficits will be noted. However, a slight improvement in the situation will be observed from mid-July to mid-August, with the availability of harvests (even if low), and most households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity. From August, reserves will be depleted at a quicker rate, leading to decreased availability of local food products. This could give rise to more staple food price increases, thereby diminishing households’ purchasing power, due to their lack of adequate income. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity will be observed in these areas. Food insecurity could be accentuated in the vulnerable areas of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area (including Cité Soleil, Carrefour, Martissant, Bas Delmas, and Croix-des-Bouquets), with clashes among armed gangs forcing inhabitants to seek refuge in public squares, sports centers, and other surrounding areas. As these areas are already in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity, an increase in the number of persons experiencing food insecurity is highly likely there.

The second scenario period, from October 2021 to January 2022, coincides with the summer/fall harvests and the launch of the winter season. Beans and maize will be farmed in the irrigated plains and the wetter mountain areas, in addition to roots, tubers, and bananas. This will also be the harvest period for seasonal crops such as pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan), lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus L.), and cowpeas (Vigna ungiculata). These harvests may also be near average, given the more or less favorable agro-climatic forecasts for this period. However, these seasons contribute very little to the national agricultural production, so market supply to households will remain predominant.  Income from sales or agricultural labor will certainly be below average but is likely to be offset by the resumption of economic activities due to the year-end festivities. As previously, the poorest households will continue to resort more often to Stressed and Crisis strategies to meet their food needs. Thus, most parts of the country will be, once again, in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity, and those who are likely to experience harvest deficits, in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.

Possible events over the next six months that could change the most likely scenario



Impact on food security conditions


Resurgence of socio-political disturbances

Increased violence would disrupt current economic and market operations. This would lead to reduced food availability and access, leading more households to adopt negative strategies. Faced with the decreased availability of certain strategies, consumption deficits could be seen. Hence, more areas and more households could be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


A fundamental deterioration of the situation induced by the COVID-19 pandemic

A potential severe deterioration of the health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic would prompt the government to take drastic measures to limit normal market operations, and informal and nocturnal activities. This would increase the number of people and areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.

Production zones

A more active than normal hurricane season

Flooding in rice, maize, and bean production zones could cause significant losses of spring, summer, and fall crops and harvests. This would negatively impact the poorest households’ livelihoods. 


A dry spell

Water deficits affecting seasonal crops; significant reduction in available fodder and water for livestock. This would also negatively impact the poorest households’ livelihoods.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.


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