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Delayed onset of rainfed planting due to delayed rainfall

  • Key Message Update
  • Guatemala
  • May 2024
Delayed onset of rainfed planting due to delayed rainfall

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The lean season started one to two months earlier than typical for poor households in the areas of the Dry Corridor, the Western Highlands, and Alta Verapaz. Due to crop failures caused by poor rainfall during past production cycles, these households were not able to harvest a sufficient quantity of staple grains to alleviate their dependence on the market for one or two months. Therefore, since February, these households have had to buy maize and beans at higher prices than usual, for which they have resorted to the use of coping strategies such as the migration of more household members and the sale of productive assets. As a result, these households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes until at least September. 
    • The remaining poor rural households in the country will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes until September due to reserves of staple grains from their own harvest and savings alleviating some of the high costs of food, fuel, and transportation. To meet their food needs, these households will continue to resort to buying food on credit and make adjustments to the quality of their diet. From June onward, households that deplete their reserves and depend on market purchases for food will see a rapid depletion of their savings due to high food costs. These households, particularly in eastern, southwestern, and northern areas of the country, will resort to negative coping strategies, facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
    • Continued below-average rainfall and a prolonged period of high temperatures have kept soils and vegetation atypically dry for the beginning of the rainy season. These dry conditions have led to outbreaks of forest fires, delayed the planting of staple grains by at least 15 days, and decreased river flows. It is expected that rainfall will increase by the beginning of June, allowing farmers to sow. However, the irregularity of rainfall could affect crop development. 
    • In April, white maize and black bean prices remained similar to those of the previous month.  Compared to April 2023, the price of maize shows a slight reduction, while beans remained 20 percent higher. Prices for both commodities remain 21 and 51 percent, respectively, above the five-year average. Late planting and harvesting in previous production cycles has maintained prices, as staggered harvests this year slowed the usual seasonal increase in prices, maintaining month-to-month stability. However, as domestic harvests end and the market is supplied only with imported grain, prices could rise until the first harvests in September.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Guatemala Key Message Update May 2024: Delayed onset of rainfed planting due to delayed rainfall, 2024.

    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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