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Food insecurity likely Minimal in 2012/13

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Nicaragua
  • January 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 be Minimal for the remainder of the consumption year even in dry corridor areas due to near-average production, average incomes, and low consumer prices. The lean season will begin normally in April. 

    • Prices for red and black beans, the main Apante crops, are about 30 percent below average. Informal field reports indicate slightly below-average or late Apante planting by surplus, commercial producers.

    • Coffee rust prevalence is slightly above average in most areas but significantly above average in Matagalpa and Jinotega. FEWS NET will monitor closely to understand the potential impact on 2013/14 production and labor demand.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Slightly below average Apante planted area.
    • Slightly below-average Apante harvest.

    Coffee-producing areas (Livelihood zones 12 and 13)

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

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

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

    Remote sensing imagery from December 1st 2012 through January 9, 2013, indicates some Apante areas where rainfall has been below average. However, informal field reports suggest that rainfall has been near average to date. Consensus forecasts and forecast updates (IRI, ECMWF) suggest that average to above-average rainfall is likely in Apante production areas through the end of the season in March. Crop development is expected to be average to good. Nonetheless, early estimates indicate slightly below-average planted area among surplus-producing commercial farmers likely due to below-average bean prices. Apante harvests, expected in late February/March, may be slightly below last year and the five-year average. No significant food security impact of a below-average Apante harvest is expected because local labor opportunities are ample, 2012 Postrera production of red and black beans in the region was good, and prices are very low.

    In general, wholesale price trends for beans and maize are relatively typical for this time of year. Wholesale red bean prices were stable from November to December, while wholesale white maize prices increased by 10 percent from November to December. Wholesale price levels are generally near average to low and are considered affordable. Wholesale red bean prices are 10 to 15 percent below last year and over 30 percent below the five year average. White maize price levels are near those of last year and 15 to 20 percent above the five year average. Supply of white maize is average. Staple food prices are expected to follow normal season trends, decreasing or stable, through March due to near-average national Postrera (Nov-Dec) harvest and despite a below average Apante harvest (Jan-Feb). Food prices will start increasing as normally from April on.

    Coffee plantations contribute significantly to agricultural labor demand, particularly during the December to February harvest. Unusual coffee rust prevalence is not likely to affect the ongoing harvest this year, and may contribute to a slight increase in labor demand for treatment between February and April 2013. Other key sectors for unskilled labor are expected to have normal labor demand, and peak demand is ongoing through March.  

    No widespread unusual food consumption or livelihood protection strategies have been observed or are anticipated. The food insecurity is likely to maintain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) at least through the end of the projection period in June 2013. The lean season will begin normally in April.

    Dry Corridor

    Between late December and early January, the San Cristobal volcano erupted, releasing gas, sand, and ashes into nearby areas. About 1500 people have been affected, and some damage to fields (particularly sugarcane) has been reported. Though some assistance to acutely affected households may be appropriate, the area affected is relatively small, and no widespread food security impacts (significant changes to labor demand or other major markets) have been reported or are expected as a result of this incident.

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

    The Agriculture Ministry and Coffee Association are monitoring the coffee rust prevalence. Matagalpa and Jinotega Departments report a coffee rust prevalence between 30 to 40 percent, two to three times higher than the normal, manageable range. The prevalence in the dry corridor area, specifically in Madriz, Nueva Segovia and Estelí, is slightly above average. This level of prevalence may reduce the 2013/2014 harvest and labor demand.

    Estimates for national coffee production in 2012/2013 are about 90 percent of last year’s production. This production level is near average, and the reduction from last year is attributed anecdotally by technicians to be part of normal cyclical production trends, not coffee rust.

    However, international coffee prices fell steadily about 30 percent over the course of 2012. Coffee prices are generally still expected to be sufficient to cover costs. The fall in coffee prices combined with normal cyclical production drops has resulted in a reduction in labor demand for coffee harvests, resulting in wage decline of approximately 15 percent compared to last year. This reduction is the equivalent of less than five percent of a household’s minimum annual food needs in terms of maize at current prices. Income opportunities are expected to be sufficiently diverse in these areas for the majority of those dependent on this income to find sufficient alternative income sources to meet minimum food and non-food needs in spite of this reduced demand for labor. Households are likely to remain in IPC 2.01 Phase 1: Minimal acute food insecurity through the projection period (June 2013).

    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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