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Minimal acute food insecurity for the remainder of the consumption year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • El Salvador
  • March 2013
Minimal acute food insecurity for the remainder of the consumption year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Above-average production during 2012 with average income and low and accessible consumer food prices will enable poor households to meet their food and nonfood needs through the projection period (June). El Salvador will maintain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity, even with the onset of the lean season as expected in May. 

    • Above-average government input support and forecasts for average rainfall suggest average to good 2013 Primera harvests in August/September.

    • Coffee rust prevalence will significantly reduce the 2013/2014 harvest by 30 to 40 percent. Labor demand and income will respectively decline between October 2013 and February 2014.




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

    • Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual.
    • The 2013/2014 coffee harvest and related labor demand is likely to be 30 to 40 percent below 2011/12 levels.
    • Income for poor households is likely to be significantly reduced.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    Staple food prices were seasonally stable between January and February. Retail red beans and white maize prices are below their February 2012 price level and the five-year average, where red beans (about 30 percent lower) are even further below white maize prices (about 24 percent lower). Markets are being supplied by national production of white maize due to good production in 2012. Flows of red beans coming from Honduras and Nicaragua continue as normal. Both factors help maintain low prices for red beans. Prices are expected to follow normal seasonal trends, stable until April and increase between May to mid-August.

    The Primera season will begin in April/May. This season produces approximately 85 percent of the national annual production of white maize and 15 percent of the national annual production of red beans. Initial rainfall forecasts suggest a normal start of the rains. The Ministry of Agriculture has planned to distribute input support consisting of seeds and fertilizer—19 percent more than last year. The current increase in input support could yield high production levels in 2013 similar to those seen in 2012, where annual production for white maize and red beans were 20 and 37 percent above the five-year average respectively.

    The seasonal labor demand peak is ending in March and has been average for sugarcane and fishing. After this peak, casual labor will be available for planting the Primera season on medium to large farms.

    Acute food insecurity in El Salvador is likely to be Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) through the projection period, even with the onset of the normal lean season in May. Poor households will meet their food and nonfood expenditures from stocks from a good 2012 production season, average income from the unskilled labor season’s peak, and low and accessible consumer food prices. No widespread acute food insecurity is expected.

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

    Coffee rust prevalence has remained three to four times higher than usual, current damages have not significantly affected the current harvest (2012/2013). Updated data suggest that the harvest will be similar to or slightly above last year’s production. Coffee harvest figures show that last year’s production was 17 percent below the five-year average (See February Remote Monitoring update).  

    Most poor households, whose main source of income depends on the unskilled labor from the coffee harvest, earned an average income during the current harvesting season, similar to that in previous years. Income is being used to meet food and nonfood needs, as well as to purchase needed inputs for the Primera planting season. Most poor households are reported to have sufficient stocks for the rest of the consumption year. Labor demand for maintenance activities for treating coffee rust is reportedly slightly above normal, finishing in March/April.

    Rust damages will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest. Initial estimates suggest a decline in production of 30 to 40 percent compared to the five-year average, potentially yielding the lowest production in 33 years. Consequently, labor demand for harvest activities between October 2013 and February 2014 will be significantly reduced, as will income for poor households. Irrespective of the current coffee rust prevalence, the coffee sector has become less prominent as a national economic driver in recent years. At the same time, small-scale farmers that depend on household labor and coffee sales as major source of income will be highly affected.

    The government has begun to provide fungicides, fertilizer to promote leaf growth, equipment to apply these inputs, and technical assistance, along with an awareness campaign to coffee plantation owners. About 75% of the input support has reached coffee farmers; technical assistance is programmed throughout the year. 

    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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