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Minimal acute food insecurity through September, even with the lean season underway

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • El Salvador
  • April 2013
Minimal acute food insecurity through September, even with the lean season underway

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The lean season is currently underway and will continue through August. Poor households are meeting their needs with less difficulty than last year. This Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity outcome is due to good 2012 production, average incomes, and low and accessible consumer food prices.

    • The Primera season begins in April/May and the harvest is expected in August/September. The yield is likely to be near last year’s above-average production as rainfall is expected to be normal through July. Localized rainfall deficits and a moderate to severe canícula (dry period in July/August) may impact production at the local level. 

    • Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual, reducing the 2013/2014 harvest, labor demand and wages by at least 30 to 40 percent.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Rainfall deficits during July and a moderate to severe dry spell between July and August
    • Primera production yields may be reduced in localized areas. 

    Livelihood Zone 2: Coffee, Agro-industry, and unskilled labor

    • Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual.
    • 2013/2014 coffee harvest and related labor demand is likely to be 30 to 40 percent below 2011/12 levels. Consequently, household-level income will decline by at least 30 percent.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    The lean season is underway through August and poor households are meeting their needs as normal with less difficulty than last year due to the good 2012 production (Primera and Postrera), average incomes, and low and accessible consumer food prices. As of August/September, poor households will start to obtain food supplies from the Primera harvest, maintaining their Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity through the end of the projection period in September.

    The Primera planting season is starting in April and will continue into May, while farmers are preparing their land for planting. The harvest will begin in August/September. This season generally produces 85 percent of the national annual production of white maize and 15 percent of the national annual production of red beans. Poor households own production constitutes a major food source throughout the year (about 20 to 35 percent), obtained mainly from the Primera and Postrera season, while purchases are the principal food source. Last year’s harvest, along with favorable rainfall, yielded good to above-average white maize and red bean production. This year, the Ministry of Agriculture has begun to deliver 19 percent more planned agricultural inputs than last year, consisting of seeds and fertilizer, and expects to finish distribution by late April, in time for this planting season.

    The rainfall forecasts suggest a normal start of the season with a likely normal distribution through July. This would result in similar production levels to last year with above-average yields. Nonetheless, a moderate to severe dry spell of at least 11 consecutive dry days (July/August) and localized rainfall deficits may negatively impact crop development, mainly for white maize. As the season transitions into the more water-demanding stage, final yields may be reduced, especially in the drier areas of the country. Close monitoring of rainfall and crop development is needed in the upcoming months.

    Retail white maize and red beans prices were seasonally stable between February and March. Retail red beans and white maize prices are below last year (about 25 percent lower) and the five-year average (about 17 and 35 percent lower respectively). Wholesale prices of both commodities are also following similar trends to retails prices. Sufficient stocks in markets are coming from the central and western areas of the country. Normal flows of red beans coming from Honduras and Nicaragua continue. Prices are expected to follow normal seasonal trends, increasing from May to August.

    Livelihood Zone 2: Coffee, Agro-industry, and unskilled labor

    Coffee rust prevalence has remained three to four times higher than usual since late 2012 and is expected to reduce the 2013/2014 harvest by at least 30 to 40 percent compared to the five-year average. Initial estimates suggest this harvest will yield the lowest production in 33 years. Consequently, labor demand and wages for the 2013/2014 harvest season will be reduced by at least 30 percent compared to 2011/2012. Small farmers with few guarantees and those in the highlands, where income is less diverse, are at risk of food insecurity due to this shock. To help offset the impact of the shock, the government is providing fungicides, fertilizer to promote leaf growth, equipment to apply these inputs, and technical assistance, along with an awareness campaign to coffee plantation owners. Technical assistance is programmed throughout the year. Close monitoring of the progress of plant growth is needed (see Coffee sector shocks and projected food security impacts in Central America for more information).

    Widespread acute food insecurity during the projection period is not expected as a result of any residual shocks from coffee rust given that poor households are meeting their needs. Potential impacts will be lessened due to a good 2012 production and outcomes will remain as Minimal (Phase 1 IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity. However, household-level income will require close attention given their likely decrease later on this year. This reduction in income will create a greater dependency on own production (for both consumption and sales) and other sources of income after the projection period and through the following consumption year in order to compensate for the reduced 2013/2014 harvest. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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