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Low and affordable food prices will continue throughout the projection period

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • El Salvador
  • July 2013
Low and affordable food prices will continue throughout the projection period

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  • Key Messages
  • Summary
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • An expected above-average Primera harvest starting in August/September will allow poor households to maintain their Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least December, the end of the projection period. Poor households will still be able to meet their needs through the lean season as food reserves are ending.

    • Principally in the dry corridor, localized rainfall deficits in July and the anticipated moderate to severe canícula, dry spell, (late July/August) may reduce final yields. Some areas (La Unión department) are already showing soil stress levels due to the below-normal rainfall. Crop development in most areas is expected to be average. 

    • Labor demand and wages will decline 30 to 40 percent between October 2013 and March 2014 as a result of coffee rust damage. Households will likely look to diversify income sources in order to compensate for reduced income from the coffee sector. 


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    • Localized rainfall deficits in July, mainly the dry corridor.
    • Moderate to severe dry spell between July and August (11 days).
    • Primera production may be reduced in localized areas, mainly the dry corridor.

    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, which was unaffected by rust.
    • Household-level income will decline by at least 30 percent between October 2013 and March 2014.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    Production during the Primera season mainly consists of white maize. According to recent satellite images, estimated rainfall has been average in most areas of the country, except in central and eastern areas (dry corridor) where it has been below average. Field reports indicate crops in La Unión Department (an area of the dry corridor) are facing difficulties as a result of rainfall deficits, yet no cropping areas have suffered any losses. Rainfall in the upcoming weeks is highly important for recovery, although final yields in that area could already be reduced. The Agro-meteorological monitoring and the water requirement images show current humidity levels to be adequate throughout the country, positively impacting crops in La Unión department.

    The rainfall forecast by the Meteorological Service indicates continued deficits in July, mainly in the eastern and pacific coastal areas. The seasonal dry spell, canícula, is expected to be moderate to severe and last at least 11 days (average is 10 days) in late July/August. Preliminary rainfall estimates for August are likely to be slightly above normal, however the deficits in July combined with the dry spell may negatively impact final yields. This is expected mainly in the dry corridor, as crops are likely to be in a reproductive stage, requiring significant amounts of water.

    The Primera harvest is expected to be on time despite a slight delay in planting due to the irregular start of the rainy season. Initial estimates of this year’s production are close to last year’s above-average production, as there was a 19 percent increase in inputs this year. To date, crops in most areas are progressing normally. Casual labor through the agricultural season is available on medium to large scale farms. The Postrera planting season, which mainly produces red beans, will begin in August/September after the Primera harvest. The Postrera harvest is expected on time in November/December.

    Staple food prices, which seasonally rise, remained unusually stable from May through June. This is due to the good 2012 production, which has provided adequate to sufficient stocks in markets, mainly in San Salvador market. Flows of white maize to Honduras and Nicaragua have been observed due to the abundant supply. Flows of red beans from Nicaragua are less than usual as domestic grains are preferred by consumers. Retail prices for both white maize and red beans are lower than June 2012 and the five-year average, exemplified in the northern and central markets. Prices of both commodities are unlikely to significantly increase due to current robust supplies, remaining accessible through the lean season. This favors households who have used up their food reserves and are market-dependent until the Primera harvest; prices will remain low and affordable throughout the end of the projection period.

    The lean season is well underway and despite food reserves ending, poor households are meeting their needs with less difficulty than last year due to the low and accessible consumer food prices along with average casual labor levels in agricultural and non-agricultural activities. The Primera harvest will allow households to continue meeting their food consumption needs and maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least December 2013. Access to income will come from the Primera harvest’s food sales and the high demand for unskilled labor beginning in November.

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

    Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual, resulting in an expected decline in the 2013/2014 production by at least 30 to 40 percent compared to the five-year average and 2011/2012, a reference year unaffected by coffee rust. It is expected that the current outbreak will similarly result in a labor demand and wage decline of at least 30 percent compared to 2011/2012. Estimates suggest this year’s harvest will yield the lowest production in 33 years, between 1.01 to 1.34 million quintales (45,000 to 61,000 MT) (Coffee sector shocks and projected food security impacts in Central America). National and regional programs including use of pesticides, financial subsidies, and job creation programs, among others, are underway to mitigate impacts on production and households. Impacts on household’s potential reduced access to food as a result of the coffee rust damages will take place in the following consumption year.

    WFP is providing complementary food supplies to maintain adequate nutrition levels of approximately 10,000 households who face reduced income during the 2012/2013 harvest through the lean season. The 2013/2014 harvest is expected to begin in October. Poor households are unlikely to face acute food insecurity, yet impacts regarding access to food sources as a result of reduced income will likely take place in the following consumption year. Households are likely to diversify income sources and rely less on the coffee sector. 

    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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