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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persist in Haiti, while seasonal improvements are muted in Central America

  • Key Message Update
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • January 2023
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persist in Haiti, while seasonal improvements are muted in Central America

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In Haiti, insecurity decreased somewhat compared to November, but instances of kidnapping persist, particularly in Port-au-Prince. In Cité Soleilthe worst affected neighborhood – households are facing consumption deficits indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) as access to food and sources of income remain disrupted by gang violence. Poor and very poor households in other areas of Port-au-Prince are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, as are households in Sud, Nord, Centre, and Artibonite, where they are engaging in the sale of productive assets or consuming seed stocks to mitigate the impacts from climatic shocks and rising prices.

    • Across the country, availability of fuel remains extremely limited, resulting in heightened demand in the parallel market and causing prices to jump to more than 160 percent above the official price. Meanwhile, by the middle of December 2022, the exchange rate reached a record of 143.78 HTG/USD, rising 42 percent year-on-year. Given Haiti’s import dependence, the cost of staple foods has risen with the depreciation of the HTG: Imported food prices in December were 60 percent higher than 2021 and more than 120 percent higher than the five-year average.

    • In Central America, despite seasonal increases in the availability of staple grains for producing households and in income-generating activities, poorer households will still struggle to cover their non-food needs as they continue to recover from previous shocks and cope with above-average prices, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. In addition, pockets of households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) still exist, driven by atypically high prices, localized crop losses, and lingering impacts of previous shocks. Some areas of the eastern Dry Corridor, western Altiplano, and Alta Verapaz in Guatemala are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Anticipating the continuation of high food prices and atypically high market dependence, the population in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to increase progressively with the start of the annual lean season, which is likely to begin in February or March for worst-affected households. However, most of the region is expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through May 2023.

    • National postrera harvests are continuing to flow into markets, while the maize harvest from the only production cycle of staple grains in the Altiplano in Guatemala began in December. This will increase the availability of staple grains through February and allow for a slight reduction in prices, although prices will remain above last year’s and above average. Although the harvest is expected to be below average for subsistence farmers – given agricultural input prices – it will still increase household reserves, reducing their dependence on the market. In Nicaragua and Honduras, the apante cycle also began in December. Weather conditions are expected to be favorable for this cycle, and the harvest will start in February or March, supplying the regional market with red beans until the primera harvest comes out in August.  

    • Despite the arrival of these harvests, prices of maize and beans remained mostly stable across the region between October and November but are atypically high compared to last year and the five-year average. This price trend is due to speculation after the passage of tropical storm Julia in October, greater regional demand, increased production costs, and above-average headline inflation this year. In November, interannual headline inflation showed mixed trends across the region, with reported rates at 7.3, 9.2, 10.4, and 11.4 percent for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, respectively.

    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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