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Poor households are meeting their needs with less difficulty than last year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • El Salvador
  • May 2013
Poor households are meeting their needs with less difficulty than last year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Given increased government input support in 2013 and normal rainfall during the Primera season in most areas of the country, above-average production similar to last year is likely. Poor households will have access to seasonal foods once the harvest begins (August/September). However, localized rainfall deficits in the dry corridor in July may impact production locally. 

    • Poor households during the lean season are able to meet their needs with less difficulty than last year due to good production levels in 2012, average income, and accessible consumer prices. Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity will be maintained through the end of the projection period. 

    • Coffee rust prevalence will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest, labor demand and wages by at least 30 to 40 percent.





    • Localized rainfall deficits in July and a moderate to severe dry spell between July and August.
    • Primera production yields 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 levels unaffected by rust. Consequently, household-level income will decline by at least 30 percent.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Farmers across the country are preparing their land for the Primera planting season. Most farmers will be planting from mid-May through early June in east pacific coastal areas. Agro-meteorological monitoring indicates moderate to mild water soil stress levels, yet the onset of the rainy season expects to experience normal levels that will not compromise planting . The harvest is expected to begin in August/September. This season produces the majority of the national annual production of white maize. Initial estimates suggest that the Primera production for this year may be near last year’s above-average production due to a 19 percent increase in inputs by the Ministry of Agriculture. This consists of seeds and fertilizer for small farmers with an expected delivery in mid-May instead of late April as originally planned, yet still on time for the Primera planting. Poor households relying on own production and purchases as main food sources depend highly on the Primera and Postrera production. Small farmers and those laborers who don’t plant are able to obtain casual labor for main agricultural practices involving staple grains crops at nearby medium to large farms.

    The Meteorological Service’s Rainfall Forecast Projections for May to July indicates a normal start of rains in the first half of May in the west and central areas and after mid-May in the east and pacific coastal areas. Rainfall distribution is likely to be close to normal during the season in most areas of the country, although rainfall deficits may occur in July, mainly in the east and pacific coastal areas. A moderate to severe dry spell of at least 11 days is likely (late July/August). This deficit could impact crop development and ultimately final yields, mainly in drier areas such as the dry corridor. Close monitoring of rainfall and crop development is needed in the upcoming months.

    Staple food prices followed normal seasonal trends between March and April, showing slight seasonal rises, mainly for white maize. Prices are likely to continue following seasonal trends, rising until the price peak in August and decreasing afterward with the start of the Primera harvest. Prices are expected to remain accessible throughout the period. Retail white maize and red bean prices remain lower than last year and the five-year average, although red bean prices are much lower than white maize (about 35 and 13 percent lower, respectively) as compared to last year. Normal and sufficient supply is reported in markets where prices will remain relatively stable in May. Flows of red beans continue as usual from Honduras and Nicaragua, although a higher proportion of national red beans are currently observed in markets.  

    The good 2012 production, low and accessible consumer food prices, and average income from the seasonal labor demand peak are enabling poor households to meet their needs with less difficulty than last year. Despite the potential challenges of the lean season, additional foods will be accessible from the Primera production in August/September, thereby maintaining Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity throughout the projection period. Reduced yields in localized dry areas may decrease food access in the following consumption year.

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

    Coffee rust prevalence remains three to four times higher than usual since late 2012. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, more than 50 percent of national coffee plantations present rust on their leaves. Damage from the current infestation will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest by at least 30 to 40 percent compared to the five-year average and reduce labor demand and wages by at least 30 percent compared to 2011/2012. Initial estimates suggest this harvest will yield the lowest production in 33 years. Small farmers, including those in the highlands, whose income options are less diverse and their major source of income comes from the coffee harvest and labor, are at risk of food insecurity due to this shock.

    The Ministry of Agriculture is providing input packages to small farmers, consisting of fertilizer and fungicide, to control and prevent any further spreading of rust. Additional technical assistance and awareness campaigns are planned throughout the year. (See the Coffee sector shocks and projected food security impacts in Central America for more information). Rainfall has begun in coffee producing areas. With the onset of the rainy season, such conditions create greater susceptibility to the proliferation of fungi and plant diseases. About three months after the coffee plants bloom, the proliferation of the Coffee Borer Beetle (Hypothenemus hampei) reaches optimum conditions for growth. This insect is highly damaging for coffee berries and may significantly reduce the harvest in the short-term. Close monitoring and preventive normal practices are needed.

    Rust damages are unlikely to result in widespread acute food insecurity during the projection period, as poor households are meeting their needs. Impacts on food access may occur after the projection period in the following harvest season, in which case households will depend more on other income sources to meet their needs (such as own production and wood sales). 

    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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