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Sociopolitical unrest affects food insecurity in Haiti

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • November 2019 - May 2020
Sociopolitical unrest affects food insecurity in Haiti

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In Haiti, livelihoods continue to deteriorate, and poor households are facing Stress (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes. Despite favorable rainfall conditions for good harvests, sources of income for the poorest households and trade flows are disrupted due to the ongoing civil unrest. Household’s purchasing power continue to deteriorate, due to high prices of food and depreciation of the gourde.

    • In Central America, the high demand for casual labor has begun, temporarily improving food access. However, poor households who faced losses in Primera harvest with reduced labor opportunities and limited stocks will be in Stress (IPC Phase 2) and those engaging in negative coping strategies will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • Rainfall anomalies affected Primera crops across the Dry Corridor, particularly in Honduras and in Nicaragua, impacting stocks at household level as well as national supply. In other areas the Postrera has normally been developed.  The neutral ENSO conditions for 2020 forecast a normal first rainy season, benefitting the start of the 2020 Primera.

    • In Central America, maize and bean markets remain supplied. Maize and bean prices follow seasonal trends. In Haiti, market activity has been disrupted by political instability and prices are showing a steep increase.



    • Since the beginning of September, the supply of basic food commodities on markets has decreased due to the deterioration of the socio-political situation, which is characterized by barricades along main roads, fuel scarcity, inflation, and broad insecurity.
    • Despite favorable rainfall, which has led to normal harvests, many rural traders are unable to reach main cities to stock and sell food commodities. Income-generating activities among poor households, which typically include urban migration and petty trade, are negatively impacted by the ongoing events. It is anticipated that household purchasing power will continue to deteriorate throughout the projection period, as a result of expected rises in food prices and depreciation of the Haitian gourde.
    • Constraints to typical livelihood activities are expected to persist throughout the outlook period. Poor households are likely to continue selling seed stocks and intensifying the sale of charcoal to help meet their basic food needs. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected across the country, with an increasing number of households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the atypically long February/March to May lean season.


    • Demand for temporary labor in the main productive sectors began in October and an average Postrera harvest is expected. These two events ended the long lean season. Food insecurity in most of the country will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1), while the poorest households in the Dry Corridor will be classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until January 2020.
    • Access will temporarily improve but accelerated use of income and high maize prices will affect the poorest households in the Dry Corridor. Their diets will worsen as they adjust the quality and quantity of their food and employ negative strategies to fill the consumption gap. These households will be classed as in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until May, marking the early arrival of the lean season.
    • Neutral El Niño conditions are forecast for the start of 2020, so the start and behavior of the rainy season should follow the regular trend. Weather conditions will encourage timely Primera planting and good crop development. This is especially important in areas that are home to the poorest households, whose only option is rainfed agriculture.

    Remote monitoring countries: El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua

    • Owing to Primera crop losses, depletion of stocks, the cost of staple foods and limited employment, the poorest households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, poorer households in underdeveloped communities will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) at the end of the year and will need to be supported through food assistance programs.
    • Irregular rainfall during the Primera season has affected various production areas across Central America, with a number of days during the June to September with no rain, resulting in Primera harvest losses in localized areas.
    • In the production areas of Honduras (Olancho, El Paraíso, Choluteca, Valle and Francisco Morazán) and Nicaragua (Nueva Segovia, Madriz, Estelí and Matagalpa), subsistence, surplus and commercial farmers reported losses of 80 percent or more compared with the expected Primera harvest, which impacted household stocks and the ability to meet national demand.
    • In the production areas affected by the Primera harvest losses, the onset of the rains was delayed by at least a week in September. This, along with the uncertainty around rainfall patterns, caused concern among farmers regarding Postrera planting due to the impact on crop development and the possibility of crop losses or reduced yields.

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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