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Minimal acute food insecurity through the consumption year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • El Salvador
  • February 2013
Minimal acute food insecurity through the consumption year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Good Postrera harvests in 2012, accompanied by average levels of income and low and affordable food prices, are likely to maintain Minimal acute food insecurity (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) throughout the remainder of the consumption year. These favorable conditions are likely to sustain poor households, even with the onset of the lean season expected in May.

    • The coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than normal, affecting between 40 to 50 percent of coffee plants. As a result, the 2013/2014 harvest and labor demand are likely to be significantly reduced. The situation will require close monitoring in the months ahead to determine the impact on food security. 

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

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

    • Coffee rust prevalence is between 40 to 50 percent, three to four times higher than usual.
    • Initial estimates indicate a 30 percent decrease in production for the 2013/2014 coffee harvest.
    • A corresponding decline in labor demand is likely for the 2013/2014 cycle.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    Staple food prices have been stable and are only showing a slight decrease from December to January. Retail white maize prices were stable in January and prices are almost 25 percent below January 2012 levels and 15 percent below the five-year average. Wholesale white maize prices are similar to retail. Retail red bean prices, which decreased almost 10 percent since December, are 30 percent below January 2012 and almost 40 percent below the five-year average. Wholesale red bean prices are slightly above retail prices. Current national production continues to supply markets, while additional flows of beans from Honduras and Nicaragua maintain low prices of beans. Prices are expected to follow normal seasonal trends for the remainder of the consumption year, beginning a seasonal increase in May.

    Labor demand for the coffee harvest, the sugar cane harvest, and other key sectors such as fishing, is average. The peak of the labor season will end in March. 

    Acute food insecurity in El Salvador will stay Minimal (Phase 1 IPC 2.0) throughout the projection period, even with the onset of the lean season in May. Poor households will meet their food and nonfood expenditures from a good Postrera production (Nov-Dec) and subsequent sufficient stocks. This is due to average income levels from the peak of the labor season (Nov-Mar) and affordable and low food prices. Initial rainfall forecasts suggest a normal start to the rainy season in El Salvador in April/May.

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

    Recent monitoring by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Salvadoran Coffee Council indicates a prevalence of coffee rust between 40 to 50 percent, which is three to four times higher than usual. The severity of damage to leaves on coffee bushes ranges from 30 to 40 percent nationwide, while it is closer to 50 percent in neighboring areas with Honduras (Cacahuatique-Nahuaterique).

    Coffee harvest figures show that last year’s production was 17 percent below the five-year average. Initial estimates suggested that the current coffee harvest (2012/2013) would be slightly above last year’s production. However, due to coffee rust this year, updated data suggests that the harvest will be similar to last year’s production or slightly below (up to 23 percent below the five-year average). Current demand for unskilled labor has been stable and will likely remain stable into late February. Field reports indicate wages have been average and consistent with the national minimum wage for coffee harvesters.

    Initial estimates suggest the level of damage from this year’s coffee rust will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest and subsequent production by 30 percent compared to the five-year average. Estimates for reduced labor demand are unclear, yet it is expected to be significant. Labor demand for maintenance and coffee rust treatment activities are likely to be slightly above average until March/April.

    The government launched a coffee rust control initiative nationwide that is expected to provide fungicides, fertilizer promoting leaf growth, equipment to apply these inputs, and technical assistance, along with an awareness campaign to coffee plantation owners. Other countries in the region have declared a phytosanitary emergency alert.

    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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