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Prices of staple grains are not demonstrating typical seasonal declines, limiting access to food

  • Key Message Update
  • Guatemala
  • November 2022
Prices of staple grains are not demonstrating typical seasonal declines, limiting access to food

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Poor rural households in localized areas of the eastern Dry Corridor, the western Altiplano, and Alta Verapaz will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until May 2023. For these households, seasonal increases in income – during peak demand for agricultural labor – will not be enough to offset their debts, below average harvests of staple grains, and high prices of both grains and transportation. In worst affected areas, households limiting food consumption and the use of critical livelihoods coping strategies will mark an atypically early start of the lean season from February/March 2023.

    • In the rest of the country, seasonal improvements will positively impact access to food for most households, resulting in their classification as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January 2023. However, general inflation – especially high food and transportation prices – and reduced savings will limit improvements such that households will not be able to cover their non-food needs. For the period of February to May 2023, the proportion of households experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will increase with the progression of the lean season.

    • In November, the increase in seasonal labor demand is allowing for better access to food. However, due to the high prices of food and transportation, households will continue to restrict their spending. In October, interannual inflation reached 9.7 percent, the highest since 2015. In the same month, the prices of staple grains remained stable, but did not show any typical seasonal decline. Maize and beans both show significant price increases compared to previous years. In October 2022, the price of maize was 86 percent, 57 percent, and 77 percent above the 2020 and 2021 prices, and the five-year average, respectively. Meanwhile, bean prices showed an increase of 24 percent and 42 percent compared to 2021 and the five-year average, respectively.

    • La Niña conditions will persist until the beginning of 2023. According to INSIVUMEH, 12 to 17 cold fronts are expected for the period of December 2022 to March 2023. In the coming months, expected below average temperatures and the possible increase in wind speeds could negatively impact vegetable and fruit crops in worst-affected areas. In the long term, according to mesoscale models, average rainfall is forecast through May 2023, which is likely to allow for a normal start to the 2023 primera season.

    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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