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Delayed harvests of staple grains keep prices high

  • Key Message Update
  • Guatemala
  • September 2023
Delayed harvests of staple grains keep prices high

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • After an early start to the lean season, poor households in the Dry Corridor, the Altiplano and Alta Verapaz will continue experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through January 2024. Despite the peak season for labor demand beginning in October that will increase income, only a minimal improvement in nutrition will be observed given households’ continued dependence on purchasing staple grains at high prices as well as their considerable indebtedness. To cover a basic diet, these households will continue to adjust meal portions and frequency, as well as employ coping strategies that put their livelihoods at risk.
    • While some pockets of the population will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), starting in October, poor rural households in the rest of the country that were classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September will see improvements in food security from the different seasonal events in the upcoming months. These households will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, as will the other households that remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). They will be able to harvest slightly below average volumes of staple grains and earn more income from the increase in temporary agricultural employment, which will allow them to partially improve their food consumption.
    • Subsistence farmers, in particular, will see below-average staple grain yields as high temperatures and reduced rainfall continue to affect crops. After the delay in primera plantings, the damage and losses from water stress, and replanting by some farmers, unfavorable weather conditions continued affecting crop development. Furthermore, this timeline of staggered sowing will produce different crop maturation and harvest times, limiting the availability of grains from producers’ own production for consumption and lengthening their dependence on purchases.
    • High food prices continue to limit household purchasing power. Although inflation showed signs of deceleration in August with more moderate inter-month (-0.06 percent) and inter-annual (-4.40 percent) variations, the food (0.42 percent) and transportation (0.13 percent) components were the most influential on price increases. Compared to July 2023, the basic food basket had a month-on-month increase of 1.19 percent, and gasoline and diesel of 13.99 and 9.7 percent, respectively. As a result of the delay in the primera staple grain harvests, the prices of white corn and black beans will remain above the five-year average through January 2024, similar to 2022, without the seasonal price drops that are usually observed starting in September.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Guatemala Key Message Update September 2023: Delayed harvests of staple grains keep prices high, 2023.

    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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