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Minimal acute food insecurity through the end of the consumption year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Honduras
  • March 2013
Minimal acute food insecurity through the end of the consumption year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0), even with the seasonal onset of the lean season in April, as poor households are meeting their food and nonfood needs from current average to good income and accessible consumer food prices. 

    • The Primera planting season will begin in May/June. Average amounts of rainfall and planted area are anticipated, followed by average harvests in August/September.

    • The coffee rust outbreak will not significantly affect current yields or labor demand, yet will affect the 2013/14 harvest season. 

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

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

    • Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than usual.
    • A reduction in the 2013/2014 harvest by 10 to 15 percent is expected compared to the current harvest.
    • Consequently, labor demand for the coffee harvest is expected to be significantly reduced between October 2013 and March 2014.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    The Apante season harvest is ongoing and will end in March. Production is reported to be average and similar to previous years, with minimum losses reported to date.

    The Primera planting season will begin in May, except in northern coastal areas where it will start in early June. The harvest is usually in August/September for low to medium altitudes and October/November in higher altitude areas. During this season, 80 percent of the national annual production of white maize and 30 percent of the national annual production of red beans are produced. 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. Initial rainfall forecasts suggest a normal start to the rainy season in April/May. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the Primera planted area will be average, leading to average production. Forecasts (IRI, ECMWF) anticipate average rainfall for the upcoming months (March to June). It is likely that the Honduran government will provide input support in the form of seeds and fertilizer for the Primera season, however specific data is not yet available.

    Markets are being supplied by the Postrera harvest, and flows of the Apante harvest, mainly red beans, are starting to arrive into markets as well. Retail red beans and white maize prices were seasonally stable to slightly decreasing between January and February. Red beans prices are below last year’s price levels (about 24 percent lower) and even further below compared to the five-year average; yet white maize prices are above last year and the five-year average (about 15 percent). Prices for white maize are likely to follow normal seasonal trends: stable during March and rising in April due to seasonally low stock in markets. Given the continual low red bean prices and upcoming increases for maize, it is possible that maize planting and production may slightly increase. For more price information, see the March Price Bulletin.

    The seasonal labor demand peak is finishing in March for major key sectors (i.e. fishing, sugarcane, and coffee). Labor demand during the seasonal peak has been average. Small farmers and poor households usually obtain casual unskilled labor at neighboring medium to large farms during the Primera planting season and harvest.

    An average to good income from unskilled labor during the seasonal peak along with accessible consumer food prices will enable poor households to meet their food and nonfood expenditures. This will likely enable Honduras to remain at Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) acute food insecurity through the projection period (June), even with the onset of the lean season in April. No widespread unusual food consumption gaps or negative coping strategies are anticipated.

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

    Coffee rust prevalence has remained three to four times higher than usual. It is estimated that over 80 percent of the coffee producing areas present signs of rust, but only 25 percent have been being highly affected. Rust also renders plants more vulnerable to other opportunistic infections. (See February remote monitoring update). The 2012/2013 coffee harvest is finishing in March. The International Coffee Organization estimates 2012/13 production to be about 5.4 million bags, down from the 2011/12 record high of 5.7 million bags. Estimates suggest it to be near last year’s record production (about 60 percent above the previous five-year average). As a result, labor demand during the season was average to above average. Near-term labor demand for maintenance and coffee rust treatment is likely to be slightly above average until April/May for households in nearby areas.

    The level of damages by rust will reduce the following harvest (2013/2014) by between 35 to 40 percent compared to 2011/2012 harvest, negating the previous growth of the sector. Therefore, the labor demand will be significantly reduced during the 2013/2014 harvest as will income for poor households whose main source of income comes from the coffee harvest labor. Close monitoring will continue in order to measure upcoming acute food insecurity impacts. In addition to decreases in production volume, it is likely there will be a reduction in quality of plants harvested, likely causing a reduction in income because laborers are paid in “piece-rate” wages (by volume or weight of coffee cherries harvested) rather than by hour or day of work. The extent to which reduced quality will have an impact is not yet clear.

    The government has issued a national phytosanitary emergency alert to raise awareness and launch a National Strategy to combat damage to coffee plants. This will include institutional strategies and field strategies for famers, as well as provision of technical support and inputs, such as fertilizers and fungicides.

    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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