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Rainfall arrives across most of the region, but acute food insecurity persists due to violence, economic shocks, and seasonal trends

  • Key Message Update
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • May 2024
Rainfall arrives across most of the region, but acute food insecurity persists due to violence, economic shocks, and seasonal trends

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In Haiti, even though violence decreased in April and May compared to March, transportation disruptions and extortion by gangs along main roads are keeping food prices high, negatively impacting income-generating activities and access to humanitarian food assistance. Across much of the country, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, are likely to persist, while Cité Soleil and a portion of very poor households (particularly in Croix-des-Bouquets) are likely to continue in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) given severe constraints on livelihoods due to violence in these areas. 
    • Despite improvements in cumulative rainfall totals in April and May, precipitation has been erratic in space and time since the beginning of the year and is expected to result in below-average printemps harvests. In addition to poor harvest expectations, an off-own farm income analysis conducted by FEWS NET in May highlighted a decrease in the job opportunities available compared to a normal year driven by insecurity. Above-average food prices for both local and imported products are expected to continue, despite some appreciation of the HTG, further limiting household purchasing capacity. 
    • In Central America, food security outcomes are likely to deteriorate during the peak of the annual lean season, particularly for very poor, rural households in the Dry Corridor region, as well as in Northern Honduras and Western Altiplano and Alta Verapaz in Guatemala. These households are still recovering from last year’s crop losses and have had to rely on food purchases atypically early in the season at above-average prices. An increasing number of households are expected to employ unsustainable coping strategies, such as reducing essential non-food expenditures, increasing the atypical migration of more household members, selling productive assets, and reducing food consumption, resulting in an increase in the number of households and some additional areas facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) throughout the lean season.
    • Despite the transition of El Niño toward neutral conditions, the onset of this year’s rainy season has been delayed. Rainfall deficits and prolonged high temperatures have resulted in forest fires, reduced water availability, and delays in planting for the primera season. Rainfall is anticipated to normalize in June; however, persistent high temperatures are likely to increase the risk of pests and diseases for crops. These delays are likely to extend the lean season and households are not expected to be able to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the harvest begins in earnest in September. 
    • In Venezuela,the population of concern remains very poor households who typically earn wages in VED and have limited access to social program benefits and/or sources of income in USD, including remittances – concentrated mainly in urban and peri-urban areas, including in the Capital District, Anzoátegui, Monagas, Sucre, and Zulia. While most of these households are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) throughout the outlook period, a portion of them will be able to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) given the May 1 announcement of increases to vouchers through the Ingreso Mínimo Integral (90 USD from the Bono Contra la Guerra Económica and 40 USD from the Cesta Ticket). In Delta Amacuro, Amazonas, and Bolivar, recent harvests of substitute food crops and cash crops are improving food availability and lowering food prices seasonally as labor demand is also increasing with the arrival of average to above-average rainfall. With enhanced income and food sources, outcomes for small producers are expected to gradually improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September.
    • Economic conditions remain stable in April, buoyed by improved tax revenues, the extension of General License LG44A – which allows the continuation of oil operations, and the addition of a new law focused on improving pensions. In addition, Venezuela reported positive changes in domestic production during the 2023/24 crop year, with national rice and maize production experiencing increases of 20 and 30 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year, increasing labor demand, stabilizing prices in VED and USD, and facilitating food access. However, political uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential election could discourage investment and increase public spending, negatively impacting social programs and household access to food.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Latin America and the Caribbean Key Message Update May 2024: Rainfall arrives across most of the region, but acute food insecurity persists due to violence, economic shocks, and seasonal trends, 2024.

    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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