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Poor households are meeting their needs during the lean season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Honduras
  • June 2013
Poor households are meeting their needs during the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Poor households’ food reserves are gradually being depleted in June/July yet they will still be able to meet their needs as usual during the lean season. Food access from the Primera harvest will begin in August/September and allow households to maintain Minimal acute food insecurity throughout the projection period, September 2013.

    • An irregular start of the rainy season and below-normal rainfall to date have led to a slight delay in planting. This, along with localized rainfall deficits, may reduce final yields, mainly in the dry corridor. 

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





    • Localized rainfall deficits are likely in July.
    • Primera production may be reduced in localized areas, mainly the dry corridor.

    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 in 2013/2014.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    The start of the rainy season has been irregular and satellite images indicate that seasonal rainfall has been below average in the east and in parts of the dry corridor (in central and southern Honduras). Yet soil levels are within a satisfactory range according to the water requirement images, with the exception of the east, a surplus production area, which are still showing stress levels. This has slightly delayed planting activities, mainly in the northern coast and in the east. Some farmers in the south began planting in late April/early May expecting a normal start of the rains (early May) yet the irregular start has led to losses. Most farmers have been able to replant in late May using their own resources or through loans. Primera planting is ongoing in northern coastal and eastern areas. Planted crops in the rest of the country are reaching their initial vegetative stages and no additional negative effects in crop development have been observed despite the irregular start of rains. The harvest is still expected on time.

    The Ministry of Agriculture is currently providing similar levels of input support to last year, consisting of seeds, as opposed to past years which included fertilizers. Distribution began late for planting in the west and south, principally for those in highlands, and is expected to end by mid-June. Yet beneficiary farmers in the south who lost their planted area may have been able to utilize the seeds for replanting in May unlike those in the west, who may store seeds to utilize for a future harvest, taking into consideration that poor storage conditions may reduce their germination rate.

    The Honduran Meteorological Service rainfall distribution in June and July is likely to be normal for most areas and even slightly above normal in June yet rainfall deficits are likely in the Department of Yoro in June and in the dry corridor in July. The dry spell will likely to take place in July, yet is expected to be less dry than usual. Even though no major negative effects are anticipated, close monitoring is needed to anticipate any negative impacts on poor household’s food access.

    The 2013 hurricane season has begun and normally goes through November; this season is likely to be above normal therefore any impact has the potential to negatively influence crop development and damage infrastructure.

    Despite typical seasonal price increases, retail white maize and red beans prices slightly decreased between May and April due to the reduced transportation costs from a minor decline in fuel prices and influx of stocks into the markets due to the start of Primera planting. White maize retails prices in Tegucigalpa still remain high, ranging from 36 to 50 percent higher than last year and 20 to 30 percent higher than the five-year average. Prices in San Pedro Sula are less than in Tegucigalpa but remain high. Conversely, retail red beans prices remain low, ranging from 16 to 30 percent lower than last year and 30 to 44 percent lower than the five-year average. Supply in markets is reportedly low for white maize yet normal to sufficient for red beans. White maize prices are likely to follow the normal seasonal rises, although red bean prices are unlikely to significantly increase and will remain low and accessible.

    Most poor households’ food reserves are ending in June/July and those in the dry corridor have depleted their food reserves. Despite this, they are meeting their needs during the lean season due to average casual labor, low and accessible food prices (such as red beans), seasonal fruits and migration to industrial zones of the country. Additionally, food access to the Primera harvest will begin in August/September, therefore, poor households will maintain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity through September 2013.

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

    Coffee rust prevalence remains three to four times higher than usual due to a regional outbreak, leading to an expected decline in 2013/2014 harvest by at least 35 to 40 percent. Production is likely to be near 2007/2008 production levels prior the high growth in the coffee sector. This decline will reduce labor demand and wages by at least 30 percent for laborers and small farmers, especially in the highlands. (See Coffee sector shocks and projected food security impacts in Central America).

    Impacts on food access will take place in the following consumption year, when poor households will depend highly on other sources of food and income to meet their needs. National and regional programs to support coffee farmers and laborers are being planned. 

    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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