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High prices of staple grains will persist despite postrera and Altiplano harvests

  • Key Message Update
  • Guatemala
  • December 2022
High prices of staple grains will persist despite postrera and Altiplano harvests

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • For poor rural households in localized areas of the eastern Dry Corridor, western Altiplano, and Alta Verapaz, recent income from labor demand for harvesting various commercial crops has been insufficient to prevent them from resorting to the use of negative coping strategies. Debt burdens and continued high food prices will cause these households to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through May 2023 and to experience an early start to the lean season, from February or March 2023.

    • In the rest of the country, relatively better availability and access to food will improve food security for most poor households. However, households will not be able to cover their non-food needs with these incomes, given high food and transportation prices. The majority will therefore be classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through May 2023; but some households will begin deteriorating to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) starting in February, as the lean season approaches and progresses.

    • National postrera harvests are continuing to flow into markets, while the maize harvest from the only production cycle of staple grains in the Altiplano begins this month. In this livelihood zone, as in the rest of the country, households faced high agricultural input prices and had to plant a smaller area, use fewer fertilizers, or none at all, which will affect the total volume harvested. The expectation of below-average yields will mean a reduction in the availability of staple grains for own consumption and a greater dependence on the market to meet food needs.

    • Despite the arrival of these harvests, prices per quintal (100 lbs) of maize and beans remained stable and showed only a slight decrease compared to the previous month, but they are still 71 and 38 percent above the five-year average, respectively. Although the price of fuel has seen slight declines recently, it remains high. In November, the price of gasoline was 86 percent above the five-year average, while diesel was 46 percent above the same.

    • Monthly inflation for November stagnated, showing a slight drop. However, the annual inflation rate was 9.17 percent. Diesel, maize, margarine, and flour are several basic expenses related to food security that showed the largest increases. Region II (departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz) and Region IV (Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa) registered an annual inflation rate higher than the national one. High food and transportation costs continue to put pressure on household purchasing power.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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