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Minimal levels of acute food insecurity expected despite the lean season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Honduras
  • May 2013
Minimal levels of acute food insecurity expected despite the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Normal crop development is likely due to normal rainfall distribution. Localized rainfall deficits in July could lead to reduced yields in drier areas. Yet overall, the anticipated dry spell is likely to be less dry than usual in July. A tropical cyclone is anticipated to reach the north coast in June and could impact local production.

    • Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1 IPC 2.0) through the projection period, even with the ongoing lean season, as poor households are meeting their needs. Despite the seasonal rise in prices, good national and regional production of red beans kept prices low and accessible. Further food access will result from the Primera season in August. 

    • Coffee rust will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest by at least 35 to 40 percent, which is on average higher than in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Consequently, labor demand and wages are likely to decrease by at least 30 percent during the next harvest (October 2013 to March 2014).





    • A tropical cyclone near the north coast is likely in June.
    • Localized rainfall deficits are likely in 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

    The Honduran Meteorological Service indicates a Rainfall Forecast Projection a normal start of the rainy season. Late April and early May rains in northern and western areas are showing satisfactory humidity levels for planting based on the water requirement model. Farmers have started planting in most areas as usual, except in the northern coastal areas where they are expected to start in early June. The harvest will begin in August/September and continue through October/November. This season produces the majority of annual production for white maize and in more minor proportion red beans. Poor households depend highly on own production during the Primera and Postrera cycles as their main food sources (about 20 to 40 percent, respectively). The Ministry of Agriculture is providing similar levels of input support to last year, consisting of seeds, as opposed to past years which included fertilizers. Yet, distribution has been delayed until late May or June, which will be too late for this planting season for farmers in southern and western areas. This delay in delivery may reduce the potential increase in planted area by beneficiaries, whom will likely only plant their usual area. Those who received this input support after the planting period, will likely store inputs for use in the following harvest. Yet, germination effectiveness of the seeds is likely to be reduced due to inadequate storage practices, minimizing the germination rate and consequently the expected yield in the future harvest.

    Once the rainy season is established, rainfall distribution is likely to be normal through July. However, localized rainfall deficits in the south are likely in July and in Yoro Department in June. The canícula, dry spell, is expected in the north in early July and in the south in late July. The canícula is unlikely to be severe and thus no major negative effects are anticipated on crop development, although there could be a slight reduction in yield just in the dry corridor. Additionally, a tropical cyclone is likely in June on the northern coast and may impact local production and infrastructure.

    Between March and April, retail prices increased, following normal seasonal trends. Retail red beans prices remain below last year and the five-year average (about 25 to 35 percent lower), while retail white maize prices are above last year and the five-year average (about 30 to 50 percent higher). This is mainly as a result of good regional and national production of red beans and average production of white maize. Retail rice prices are near to last year’s price. Markets are reporting sufficient supply in order to meet the current demand. Prices will likely follow normal seasonal trends through August, increasing, and slowly begin to decline as the Primera harvest reaches markets. Above-average white maize prices may cause an increase in planted area, while low red beans prices may cause a reduction in planted area. Poor households may reduce their consumption of white maize and substitute with other more accessible grains until the Primera harvest.

    The lean season is underway through August. Food access from the 2012 Postrera season’s stocks is likely to last until June/July for most poor households and until May for those in the dry corridor. Therefore, they will meet their needs due to average to good income and accessible food prices of grains, such as red beans and rice. Despite this, poor households will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through the projection period, September 2013.

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

    The 2011/2012 coffee harvest, that was unaffected by rust, yielded record high production. Since late 2012, coffee rust prevalence has been three to four times higher than usual. Therefore, production from the 2013/2014 harvest will decline 35 to 40 percent and is likely to be nearer to 2007/2008 production levels. This expected decline in production due to the rust outbreak will negate the growth that the coffee sector achieved in the last few years. Consequently, labor demand and wages will also drop by at least 30 percent. Small farmers, including those in the highlands, whose income options are less diverse and depend heavily on the coffee harvest and labor, are at risk of food insecurity due to this shock. Over the past three years, the coffee sector’s growth has caused people to change their livelihoods to include coffee harvest labor. As a result, a high proportion of poor households in this area may be negatively impacted by the decrease in production. (See Coffee sector shocks and projected food security impacts in Central America).

    The onset of rains favors coffee plantation flowering and creates optimal conditions for fungi and other disease proliferation. Therefore, appropriate preventive controls are needed.

    Although income reduction is anticipated, poor households will be meeting their needs during the projection period, thereby maintaining Minimal acute food insecurity (Phase 1, IPC 2.0). Impacts on food access are likely to occur after the projection period, when households will depend highly on other sources of food and income to meet their needs. The government is developing a support program for coffee farmers, which will provide them with financial and technical aid. 

    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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