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Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal even with the lean season underway

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Honduras
  • April 2013
Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal even with the lean season underway

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The lean season is underway and will continue through August. Acute food insecurity will likely remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) through the projection period, September 2013, as poor households are meeting their needs due to average to good income, average production and relatively accessible consumer prices. Food access from the Primera season will be accessible from August on. 

    • Forecasts indicate normal rainfall throughout July, leading to an average Primera harvest. A less dry than normal canícula (dry spell) is expected in July and localized areas may face rainfall deficits. Therefore, local yields may be reduced. A tropical cyclone is likely to reach the north coast in June and could impact local production. 

    • Coffee rust will reduce 2013/2014 harvest by at least 35 to 40 percent, consequently labor demand and wages are likely to reduce by at least 30 percent during the next harvest (October 2013 to– March 2014)

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • A tropical cyclone is likely in June near the north coast
    • Rainfall deficits are likely during July
    • Primera production may be reduced in localized areas.

    Coffee-producing areas (Livelihoods 3, 6, 7, 11, 15)

    • Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual.
    • The 2013/2014 harvest will be 35 to 40 percent less than the 2011/2012 record harvest.
    • Household income from the coffee harvest is likely to decline by at least 30 percent.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Farmers are preparing their land for Primera planting, expected to start in May in most areas and early June in the northern coastal areas. The harvest is expected to begin in August/September in low to medium altitudes and October/November in higher altitudes areas. The Primera season generally produces 80 percent of the national annual production of white maize and 30 percent for red beans. The remaining annual white maize production is produced during the Postrera season, while the remaining red bean production is divided between the Postrera and Apante season (60 and 10 percent, respectively). In general, own production accounts for 20 to 40 percent of food sources for very poor and poor households. The Ministry of Agriculture has planned to provide similar quantities of seeds to last year for small farmers. Distribution is likely to begin in late April/May, in time for the Primera planting.

    According to the National Meteorological Service, rainfall forecasts indicate a normal start of the season, with normal rainfall distribution through July. There will be a dry spell in early July, which is not anticipated to be severe. Therefore negative impacts on crop development are unlikely, which will result in an expected average Primera production. Localized areas may face rainfall deficits during July and could impact final yields locally in the dry corridor area. Additionally, a tropical cyclone is likely to occur near the northern coast and may impact local production and infrastructure. Close monitoring is needed to anticipate potential impacts on poor household’s food access.

    Retail red beans and white maize prices followed normal seasonal trends between February and March: stable and then starting to increase. Retail red beans prices are below prices from March 2012 and the five-year average, yet retail white maize prices are higher (about 17 to 30 percent higher). Low red bean prices are the result of good national and regional production in past years, while white maize production has been average. Wholesale prices are following similar trends to retail prices. Markets are being supplied by the Apante harvest and stocks from the Postrera season. Prices are expected to follow normal seasonal trends, increasing throughout August and then beginning to decline with the arrival of the Primera harvest. Above-average white maize prices may cause an increase in planted area, while low red beans prices may cause a reduction in planted area.

    Acute food insecurity is likely to be Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) throughout the projection period, September 2013, even with the lean season underway through August. Poor households are meeting their needs during the lean season due to average to good income and relatively accessible food prices. Despite consumer white maize prices being higher than last year, red beans prices are low and affordable. No negative copying strategies are anticipated. 

    Coffee-producing areas (Livelihood zones 3, 6, 7, 11, 15)

    The coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual since late 2012, and as a result it is expected that the 2013/2014 harvest will decrease by 35 to 40 percent compared to the 2011/2012 harvest, negating the previous growth of the sector. Consequently labor demand and wages are likely decline by at least 30 percent (October 2013 to March 2014). Small farmers with few guarantees and those in highlands, where income is less diverse, are at risk of food insecurity. High yields in this sector in the past few years have resulted in more demand for laborers. Therefore, a high proportion of poor households in this area may be negatively impacted due to the projected reduction in labor. Coffee rust renders plants more susceptible to other opportunistic diseases; therefore impacts may be higher if a new outbreak occurs.

    These impacts are unlikely to result in widespread acute food insecurity through the projection period and Honduras will therefore remain at Minimal acute food insecurity (Phase 1 IPC 2.0). Poor households will be more dependent on own production, remittances from family, and other sources to meet food needs from income reduction during the 2013/2014 coffee harvest (see Coffee sector shocks and projected food security impacts in Central America). The government launched a National Strategy to combat coffee rust as part of the national phytosanitary emergency alert during February 2013. The identification of targeted farmers that will receive credit is underway and activities are being developed and organized at local and municipal levels to provide support (technical assistance) and inputs (fertilizer and fungicide). In the interim, farmers’ own strategies include replanting and cutting of branches and focusing on high quality production instead of volume.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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