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Food insecurity likely Minimal in 2012/13

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Nicaragua
  • February 2013
Food insecurity likely Minimal in 2012/13

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through June 2013. Due to near average production in 2012, average income levels, and accessible consumer prices, households have been meeting their food and nonfood needs.

    • Commercial producers have reduced red bean planting by up to 15 percent given the current surplus, which has resulted in low market prices (25-30 percent below average).

    • Coffee rust prevalence is two to three times higher than usual. Labor demand will likely be reduced by more than 15 percent by the 2013/2014 harvest.





    • Below average area planted during the Apante season.
    • An Apante harvest will yield 10-15 percent below the five-year average.

    Coffee-producing areas (Livelihood zones 12 and 13)

    • Coffee rust prevalence is two to three times higher than usual.
    • Coffee prices about 30 percent below last year.
    • Labor demand and wages about 15 percent below last year.
    • Labor demand for coffee treatment, principally for locals, may be slightly above average between February and April.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    The Apante season generally produces 40 percent of the national annual red bean production, 56 percent of the national annual black bean production, and 10 percent of the national annual white maize production. Nicaragua’s Apante bean production is an important source of beans in the region, particularly between May and August.

    Apante seasonal planting is finished for the northern central and southeast parts of the country. Remote sensing images suggest that rainfall has been below average in some Apante areas, though field reports indicate rainfall during the season has been average. Analysts suggest that the satellite models may underestimate the coastal rainfall. Crops are developing normally, and minimum losses have been reported to date. Forecasts (IRI, ECMWF) indicate that rainfall for the rest of the season is likely to be average to above-average in the Apante production areas.

    Retail red bean prices decreased 5 to 10 percent from December to January and although similar to last year, prices are 15 percent below the five-year average. Wholesale prices are about ten percent below retail prices respectively. Production estimates from commercial producers report a 10 to 15 percent drop as compared with the five-year average of red bean planting given the current surplus and resulting low market prices. Retail white maize prices were stable from December to January, but prices are 10 to 15 percent above January 2012 levels and the five-year average, except in the Chontales market where retail prices are 25 percent and 30 percent above, respectively. In general, wholesale prices are slightly above the retail prices. These above-average white maize prices are due to the above-average harvests in 2011 as compared to the near-average harvests in 2012. The supply of basic grains is reported to be average. Prices are expected to follow normal seasonal trends through March based on the near-average national Postrera (Nov-Dec) harvest and despite a below-average Apante harvest (Jan-Feb). Prices will start to increase normally from April through mid-August.

    Labor demand for the coffee bean harvest will cease by the end in February; however due to the coffee rust prevalence in farms, a slight increase in labor demand for treatment and maintenance activities is likely from February through April 2013. This increase will not be sufficient to compensate (as a revenue source) for the reduction in the current labor demand. Other key sectors have had a normal labor demand during the labor season. 

    Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through the end of the projection period in June 2013, as households are meeting their food and nonfood needs. No widespread occurrence of unusual food consumption or livelihood protection strategies has been observed nor is any anticipated through the projection period. The lean season will begin normally in April and a normal start of the Primera rainfall season is expected in May. 

    Coffee-producing areas of Matagalpa, Jinotega, Madriz, Nueva Segovia and Estelí (Livelihood zones 12 and 13)

    Agriculture authorities, coffee associations and local NGOs are monitoring the coffee rust prevalence and damage. To date, the prevalence is still the highest in Matagalpa, Jinotega, and parts of Nueva Segovia (between 30 to 40 percent), which is two to three times higher than usual. About 36 percent of the total planted area in the country is affected by coffee rust and Anthracnose disease. Authorities have initiated training to farmers to minimize further impact.

    Estimates for national coffee production in 2012/2013 are about 90 percent of last year’s production. According to anecdotal evidence gathered by technicians, this change is considered to be part of normal cyclical production trends. Some additional losses and reduction in the quality of the grain are expected in the most affected areas due to coffee rust and the Anthracnose. However, this level of prevalence and damages will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest and labor demand (see January Remote Monitoring update for more detail). Despite international coffee prices falling about 30 percent steadily over the course of 2012, prices are generally still expected to be sufficient to cover costs of production. Households are likely to remain in IPC 2.01 Phase 1: Minimal acute food insecurity through the projection period.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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