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Northwestern Nicaragua, parts of northern and southern Honduras, and coffee-producing areas in western El Salvador continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. With the peak of the lean season in August/September, reductions in access to food are compounded by rising staple food prices and atypically low labor demand driven by lingering economic effects of COVID-19. The primera harvest in September, increased labor demand beginning in October, and the postrera harvest in November/December will likely reduce the size of the food insecure population through January 2022. Despite this anticipated decline, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely persist in parts of southern Honduras and western El Salvador while Nicaragua is anticipated to see outcomes improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
Below-average primera harvests are expected among smallholder farmers in rainfall-deficit areas of Honduras, reducing the duration of their food stocks, while average harvests are likely in El Salvador. In Nicaragua, many smallholder farmers chose to grow beans instead of maize, due to a delay in planting and below-average rain forecasts. Both crops are developing well, however, bean harvests will likely contribute to additional income for these households. For the postrera season, climate forecasts indicate average rainfall in Nicaragua; however, periods of above-average rainfall in Honduras and El Salvador are expected to cause localized losses of beans due to moisture sensitivity
White maize retail and wholesale prices increased in the region between 5 and 35 percent from May to June. This was mainly driven by seasonal price increases combined with elevated costs for agricultural inputs and transportation. Reports also suggest speculation played a role, as some traders increased prices in anticipation that irregular rainfall will lead to lower market supply. Red bean retail and wholesale prices, however, were stable in all monitored markets, driven by imports and national reserves. Overall, prices have significantly decreased throughout the region as compared to June 2020 and the 5-year average.
Despite a lack of stringent COVID-19 restrictions, economic recovery is likely to remain slow throughout 2021, particularly for urban households who depend on informal jobs. COVID-19 infections continue to rise as vaccination rates are uneven throughout the region. The vaccination campaign in Honduras has improved coverage, with over ten percent of the population having received at least the first dose as of late July. Meanwhile, limited data from Nicaragua suggests less than five percent of the population is vaccinated. El Salvador, however, has reportedly vaccinated approximately 40 percent of its population with at least one dose.
This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.