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Primera harvests begin to flow, but prices remain atypically high

  • Key Message Update
  • Guatemala
  • September 2022
Primera harvests begin to flow, but prices remain atypically high

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Due to a prolonged lean season, marked by high prices and a dependency on market purchases, a portion of poorer households in the Dry Corridor and areas of Alta Verapaz are not likely to experience significant seasonal improvements starting in October. These households will continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes as outstanding debts and high prices for transportation and staple grains force them to employ negative coping strategies to cover their basic nutritional needs, despite seasonal increases in demand for agricultural labor and income.

    • From October to January, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will be likely in much of the country. Harvests from the primera season and from the only agricultural cycle in the Altiplano will replenish some staple grain reserves for own consumption for most producing households. At the same time, the income generated during the most important season for agricultural labor in cash crops will help stabilize food consumption and allow households to avoid the use of negative coping strategies.

    • Nevertheless, high inflation rates continue to put pressure on household purchasing power. In August, the year-on-year national inflation rate was 8.9 percent, with food (13.3 percent) and transportation (9.6) categories showing the greatest increase. In certain regions within the country, the inflation rate surpassed the national rate, as in Region II (Departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz) with 13.4 percent and Region VII (Departments of Quiche and Huehuetenango) with 11.0 percent. The prices of maize and beans remain high: in August in the market of La Terminal, the price of a quintal of maize was 51 percent and of beans 41 percent above the five-year average.

    • The harvesting of white maize from the primera season is ongoing in most of the country and crops are developing normally in the Western Highlands. In some markets, fresh staple grains are already available; however, their increased availability has yet to be reflected in the sale price. Factors such as the price of fertilizers, the cost of fuel and transportation (influenced by logistical challenges along roads and highways with floods and landslides) have not allowed for the typical seasonal reduction in prices. Rain is likely to remain above average through the end of the month, potentially delaying the sowing for postrera season. Similar to the primera season, the prices of agricultural inputs could cause a reduction in the use of fertilizer and, with it, reductions in planted area or yields, particularly among subsistence farmers.

    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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