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Minimal food insecurity in 2012/13

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • El Salvador
  • November 2012
Minimal food insecurity in 2012/13

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Average to above-average Postrera harvests are anticipated in November/December. No negative shocks are expected to affect labor demand or staple food prices. As a result, acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (IPC 2.0 Phase 1) through the end of the projection period (March 2013). The lean season will begin normally in May. 

    • The prevalence of coffee rust is two to three times higher than average. This is unlikely to significantly affect the current harvest, but treatment is needed to protect future harvests. Coffee prices are estimated to be high enough to cover this additional production cost, which will favor above-average labor demand between now and March/April. 




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

    • Coffee rust prevalence is two to three times higher than average.
    • Above-average labor demand in these areas between January and March due to treatment for coffee rust.

    Projected Outlook through March 2013

    The Postrera season, which is harvested in November/December, produces 80 percent of the annual, national red bean production. Rainfall during the Postrera season was generally average with a normal cessation in late October. Rainfall was 10 – 20 percent below-average in central areas of the country, but with fair distribution over time. In general, both rainfall performance and crop development have been better than anticipated by pre-season forecasts. In addition, unusually high input support from the government this season—particularly in areas of the East affected by below-average Primera rainfall—resulted in a 20-percent increase in planted area compared to average. Field reports and water requirement models indicate average crop development across the country. National Postrera production, again, mainly for red beans, will likely be near or above the five-year average. White maize production estimates for the combined 2012 Primera and Postrera seasons are about 15 percent above the five-year average.

    October staple food prices decreased seasonably and are unusually low. White maize retail prices are near the five year average while red bean prices remain 20 percent below average. Wholesale prices are even further below these references. Wholesale prices of both white maize and red beans are 20 to 40 percent below last’s year prices. Wholesale red bean prices are 40 to 60 percent below average and wholesale white maize prices are 5 to 25 percent below the five-year average. El Salvador is a net-importer of red beans and white maize. Imports so far this year are 50 percent less than last year (when prices were high due to low production in the region) due to average-to-good 2012 harvests region-wide. Prices are expected to follow a normal, seasonal stable to dropping trend until April 2013 due to a near to above-average Postrera harvest.

    The unskilled labor season across the country will peak from October to April 2013 for coffee beans, sugarcane, and fishing. Supply and demand are expected to be normal. A normal start of the main, Primera rains in April is expected. Acute food security in El Salvador will remain in Phase 1: Minimal (IPC 2.0) throughout the projected outlook period (March 2013). The lean season will begin normally in May 2013.

    East (Sugarcane, Agro-industry, and Labor Zone and Eastern Basic Grain, Labor, Livestock, and Remittance Zone)

    2012 Primera season harvests were below average in parts of this area, and parts of the area also had below average Postrera rainfall. However, these issues are not likely to result in unusual acute food insecurity. In fact, an above-average Postrera harvest is expected in the area due to strong input support for the Postrera season with significantly above-average planted area and good distribution of rains over time. This, combined with average income from casual and migration labor and low staple food prices are likely to allow households to meet their food and non-food needs without unusual coping strategies throughout the projection period (March 2013), maintaining the area in Phase 1: Minimal food insecurity (IPC 2.0).

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

    Initial studies indicated a prevalence of coffee rust as much as two to three times higher than usual (10 percent is considered a usual and manageable prevalence). Coffee rust usually expands between February and May and affects production for the following year. As such, the current harvest is unlikely to be significantly affected. There is plenty of time for treatment to prevent significant expansion, and no significant damage is expected for future harvests at this time. In addition, FEWS NET estimates that current coffee prices are sufficiently high to support the cost of treatment. The most affected Departments are Ahuachapán, San Vicente and La Paz. 

    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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