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Inflation and macroeconomic conditions drive food insecurity across the region, with erratic rainfall and drought conditions also increasing needs in Central America and the Caribbean

  • Key Message Update
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • May 2023
Inflation and macroeconomic conditions drive food insecurity across the region, with erratic rainfall and drought conditions also increasing needs in Central America and the Caribbean

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In Venezuela, access to food in recent years has been limited due to the depreciation of the local currency, VED, significant inflation, and a reduction in economic activities and employment opportunities. While recent economic growth and the informal dollarization of the economy have improved purchasing power for households who receive their incomes in USD, macroeconomic challenges continue to put pressure on household budgets, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September 2023 for most poorer households. Nevertheless, millions of households that receive incomes in VED, and that receive little to no international remittances and have limited access to social safety net programs are likely experiencing food consumption gaps or they are mitigating those gaps through the use of unsustainable coping strategies, for which they are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). These households are dispersed throughout the country, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas, but there are some concentrations around the capital and in the Zulia region. 

    • In Haiti, the security situation remains volatile, causing disruptions in economic activities and markets and negatively impacting sources of income and food, driving Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in Cité Soleil. As a result, trade flow between rural markets and the capital has decreased, impacting staple food availability. In addition, inflation rates – despite a recent appreciation of the HTG against the USD – are continuing to erode household purchasing power and drought conditions – despite improvements in rainfall during May –and are expected to result in below-average printemps harvests. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are, therefore, widespread across the country, with a growing proportion of households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes as they employ more severe, unsustainable coping strategies.

    • In Central America, with the establishment of the annual lean season, most poor, rural households will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September as they reduce the quality of their diets and expand the use of coping strategies to ensure minimum caloric intake amid above-average prices for food, transportation, and other living expenses, and below-average income. Meanwhile, the poorest households in areas of the Honduran, El Salvadoran, and Guatemalan Dry Corridor and of the Western Altiplano and Alta Verapaz in Guatemala, have seen their livelihoods deteriorate have had to rely on markets for extended periods of time. These households are beginning to employ unsustainable coping strategies as they move into the peak of the lean season and are likely to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes – some as early as April and others as late as June – through September with the arrival of the primera harvest.

    • Across the Central America region, prices of staple grains did not show typical seasonal declines following the latest 2022 postrera and 2023 apante/postrera tardía harvests. Maize and bean prices continue to be above the five-year average and those registered last year. In the coming months, it is expected that they will continue to rise according to seasonality, limiting household purchasing power. Farmers are readying their fields in anticipation of the start of the rainy season; however, the continuation of the high prices of fertilizers, paired with erratic rainfall and likely below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures in the coming months as El Niño conditions set in, are expected to negatively affect the establishment and development of crops for subsistence farmers.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Latin America and the Caribbean Key Messages April to September 2023: Inflation and macroeconomic conditions drive food insecurity across the region, with erratic rainfall and drought conditions also increasing needs in Central America and the Caribbean, 2023.

    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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