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High prices hinder improvements in acute food insecurity at the end of the lean season

  • Key Message Update
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • September 2022
High prices hinder improvements in acute food insecurity at the end of the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • At the close of the lean season in Central America, high prices continue to constrain food access for poor households in the Dry Corridor of Guatemala and Honduras and in Alta Verapaz in Guatemala, where households had to purchase food longer than usual this year. High headline and food inflation continue to hinder access to food and reduce purchasing power. As a result, these areas will likely continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September.

    • After the lean season ends, near-average primera harvests and a seasonal increase in household income from agricultural labor are expected to lead to more widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Household and market food stocks will generally increase, leading to a relative reduction in staple food prices, though food inflation will remain elevated. In addition, the continuation of La Niña conditions, with above-average rainfall, will also support the development of crops during the postrera cycle.

    • However, subsistence farmers will see fewer improvements in October-January as their cropped areas were constrained by high production costs. Although high labor demand will seasonally improve household income, the income generated during the upcoming peak season for labor demand is not expected to be enough to offset above-average staple food prices for very poor households, who will continue to face difficulty purchasing their food needs. As a result, some pockets of populations in both rural and urban areas will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to high prices and previous shocks.

    • In Haiti, recent operations by the National Police have led to relative improvement in civil insecurity, with the number of violent events recorded in August amounting to 20 percent of those recorded in July. Nevertheless, gang activities still limit food and fuel supplies in urban areas. While local yellow maize prices were stable or decreased due to the recent Spring harvest, imported food prices spiked in July due to the weakening of the official and parallel exchange rates. Annual inflation reached a record level of 30.5 percent, driven by soaring food and transportation prices. The Central Bank is expected to intervene to contain HTG depreciation.

    • Amid insecurity and high food prices, very poor rural households who lost their crops in the Spring cycle and poor urban households in insecure neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince will continue to adopt negative coping strategies (such as the intensification of the sale of firewood, consumption of less nutritious food, begging, and the sale of animals), resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in many areas. While Haiti has received near-average rainfall since July, favoring summer/autumn agricultural activities, the next harvest is likely to be adversely affected by high input prices and a lack of seeds due to Spring crop losses. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the areas with near-average Spring harvests and ongoing livelihoods assistance.

    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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