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Fall harvest significantly impacted by recent shocks

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Haiti
  • November 2012
Fall harvest significantly impacted by recent shocks

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Outlook through March 2013
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • Hurricane Sandy struck the country’s southern peninsula in October, destroying banana, breadfruit, and other crops spared by previous climatic shocks (particularly in Grand’ Anse). The food security situation of poor households in affected areas is classified as IPC Phase 2 (stressed). 

    • Flooding from heavy downpours in November in the North and the Northeast caused further damage to crops already affected by previous shocks. At least 20 percent of area households lost their primary sources of food. The rapid deterioration in their livelihoods will downgrade food security conditions to IPC Phase 2 (stressed) between December and March. 

    • The government and the donor community have announced a sizeable aid package for farmers beginning in December to bolster the winter (2012) and spring (2013) growing seasons. Should they materialize, these investments would create gainful employment opportunities for poor rural households beginning as of December.

    Current Situation
    • According to the impact assessment of Hurricane Sandy by the CNSA and its partners, the storm caused considerable damage, particularly in Grand’ Anse, which had seen less damage from previous shocks, Nippes, and the Southern and Southeastern departments. Farm infrastructure has also been affected. The damage to the irrigation system in the municipality of Cotes de Fer is jeopardizing the winter growing season for bean crops in this irrigation scheme that covers an area of approximately 300 hectares.  
    • Some areas like the Artibonite Valley, the lower Central Plateau, and certain municipalities in the North less affected by recent storms were the scene of various farming activities throughout the month of November. These areas have been getting light to moderate rainfall since October, which is helping maturing crops. Sorghum and pigeon pea crops in the flowering stage in practically all areas are about to be harvested, which should help improve the food security situation of farming households in December and January.  However, these harvests will still be visibly smaller than last year and will provide very few employment opportunities for poor households. The main rice harvest in the Artibonite Valley, for example, which began in October and is finally winding down, is expected to be average. Farmers have even started work on a second growing season, not only for rice, but also for vegetables and beans.
    • In contrast, food security on the southern peninsula and in certain parts of the West, Northwest, North, and Northeast are steadily deteriorating, particularly in the aftermath of the November floods, putting poor households in most of these areas in IPC Phase 2: Stress.
    • Prices for locally grown food crops like corn and beans are steadily climbing on markets in Jérémie, Jacmel, and Port-au-Prince. On the other hand, prices for imported products like rice, oil, and sugar were relatively stable between October and November.
    • In the aftermath of the hurricanes, the government and the humanitarian community began making distributions of food and cash to high-risk groups and hurricane victims in October. Efforts to distribute some 396.88 metric tons of food to 28,511 households in the Southeastern department continued into November. 
    • The Ministry of Agriculture and its partners are taking steps to assist farmers during the 2012 winter and 2013 spring growing seasons. To this end, close to $6 million have already been raised for procurements of farm inputs and the repair of damaged farm infrastructure as part of cash-for-work programs, which will create paying jobs for poor households in rural areas between December and next May. However, supporting the winter season alone could require up to $20 to $25 million in funding. 

    Updated Assumptions
    • The October Outlook assumed there would be extremely severe flood damage in the Northern, Artibonite, Western, Southern, and Southeastern departments. In fact,  floods occured in the North, the Northeast, and the Nippes area at the beginning of November, affecting certain crops like pigeon peas, beans, and bananas already damaged by previous storms. Based on this information, FEWS NET has updated its classification of food security conditions in these flood-stricken areas, in which crop losses and damage to infrastructure will drive increasing numbers of households into IPC Phase 2 by December.
    • Hurricane Sandy triggered a reversal in farming progress and food security in areas of Grand’ Anse and Nippes, relatively spared from storm damage up until mid October, though still receiving adequate amounts of rain. Destroying crops (bananas, breadfruits, etc., mainstays of the diet of local households) and livestock, the storm disrupted the livelihoods of most rural households. As a result, the availability of food crops will be extremely limited throughout the outlook period, resulting in over 20 percent of the population experiencing IPC Phase 2:  Stressed levels of food insecurity  as of November.

    Outlook through March 2013

    The damage to crops from this year’s various climatic shocks will mean smaller than usual harvests between November and next March, which account for approximately 30 percent of total nationwide crop production. The combination of these poor harvests and the losses of spring and summer crops will curtail the market availability of locally grown crops throughout the outlook period. 

    • The lean season, which normally gets underway sometime in March/April, will begin by January/February in the hardest hit areas, particularly in the Southeastern and Northeastern departments, the far western reaches of the Northwestern department, and in certain municipalities on the Central Plateau and in the North, the West, the South, Grand-Anse, and Nippes.
    • Poor households reliant on market purchase for a large part of their food supplies will become increasingly market-dependent between now and the next round of harvests in June/July of next year.
    • Many poor households across the country will be in IPC Phase 2: Stress throughout the month of December. Food security in some areas of the southeast, northwest, and Gonave  will further deteriorate to IPC Phase 3 (crisis) between January and March of next year without well-targeted aid (Figures 1 and 2).   
    Figures Standard Seasonal Calendar

    Figure 1

    Standard Seasonal Calendar

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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