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Elevated food prices continue to limit access to food during lean season

  • Key Message Update
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • August 2022
Elevated food prices continue to limit access to food during lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Central America is currently experiencing the height of the annual lean season. Purchasing power and access to food for very poor households are constrained as they are highly dependent on market purchase at this time of year but have few potential sources of income amid high food prices and general inflation. Most poor, rural households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes while eastern Honduras, parts of the Dry Corridor in Honduras and Guatemala, and northern areas in Guatemala not yet recovered from past shocks will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until September. In October, food security outcomes will improve due to the start of the high labor demand and the staple grains’ primera harvest. As a result, the proportion of households facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will decrease, but most areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and a limited number of areas in the Guatemalan Dry Corridor and in Alta Verapaz will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2023. 

    • Central American markets continue to operate normally with adequate supply of local and imported goods. In June, white maize prices increased across most markets and red and black bean prices rose in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Headline inflation continued to rise in the region, mostly driven by inflation in food and non-alcoholic beverages as well as in transportation. These high prices are continuing to reduce household purchasing power through the lean season. 

    • The primera agricultural season is fully established, with no reports of significant damage, except for in Alta Verapaz in Guatemala. Although fertilizer prices have recently stabilized, cropped area for primera had already been limited due to high agricultural input prices. As these prices remain well above average, fertilizer use and cropped area for the postrera season are also likely to be constrained. Small and medium-sized producers are likely to experience the greatest negative impact; however, national production totals are expected to be near-average. 

    • In Haiti, insecurity, inflation, and a lack of employment opportunities continue to disrupt household access to typical sources of food and income. Between June and July, the total number of political violence events and deaths reported by ACLED increased by more than 70 percent. Both armed clashes in Cité Soleil and cases of kidnapping are increasing, preventing the metropolitan population from going about their activities normally. The very poor, especially in Port-au-Prince, will continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2023. Households in areas where harvests are estimated to be near-average, including in Sud, Grand'Anse, and in some communes of Artibonite, the lower Plateau Central, Ouest, Nord, and Nord-est will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 

    • Staple food prices remain above last year and the five-year average due in part to insecurity limiting food and fuel supply in Port-au-Prince and to general inflation and the continued depreciation of the HTG. Below-average spring harvests have only had a slight seasonal impact on the prices of local products and this below-average production will negatively affect the summer/autumn and winter planting seasons, as farmers typically use the income from crop sales to purchase agricultural inputs for the next season. 

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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