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Food insecurity likely Minimal in 2012/13

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

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through April 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Acute food insecurity is likely to be Minimal through the remainder of the post-harvest season even in dry corridor areas. Postrera harvests are likely to be near average due to above-average technical and input support (mitigating 2012 production losses due to below-average rainfall in the dry corridor) and anticipated average incomes. The lean season is expected to begin normally in April.

    • Crop development in the western dry corridor is better than expected. As a result, harvest losses due to poor rainfall may be less significant than initially anticipated in that area. 

    • Coffee rust prevalence in the Western dry corridor (Madriz, Nueva Segovia and Estelí) is slightly above average. Projected 2012 coffee harvests are slightly below 2011 but near average. Harvest labor demand will be average and maintenance (treatment) labor demand will be above average between now and March/April. 





    • October rainfall was slightly below average nationwide with a normal cessation of the Postrera rains at the end of October/beginning of November. Despite the below-average seasonal totals, heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Sandy at the end of the season will favor soil moisture and crop development.


    Projected Outlook through April 2013

    The Postrera rains are ending. Though totals are 20-30 percent below average, rains were well distributed over time, and heavy late-season rainfall is likely to contribute to good crop development. The mid-November to December Postrera harvest, for which red beans are the primary crop, is likely to be near average due to above-average area planted and input and technical support. No significant late-season storms are currently forecasted through the end of November. However, if a late-season storm did take place, it would most likely improve soil-moisture conditions and result in more favorable Postrera harvests despite some localized flood damage.

    The Jan/Feb Apante harvest in the center-north and southeast (mainly red and black beans), is likely to be similar to the 2007 – 2011 average since planted area is likely to be average and rainfall forecast indicates normal conditions in early 2013, reinforcing national staple stocks. Similarly, the demand for unskilled labor will peak between October and March 2013 for the harvests of coffee beans, sugarcane, tobacco, etc. The supply and demand for unskilled labor, as well as labor migration, are expected to be near normal throughout the region.  Though uncertainty of medium-term forecasts is high, a normal start of season for the 2013 Primera rains in April.

    Retail and wholesale red bean and white maize prices fell seasonably in October by about 10 percent. Retail and wholesale red bean prices are 15 – 20 percent below last’s year prices and 30 percent below the five-year average. Retail and wholesale white maize prices are higher by 5-15 percent compared to last year and the five-year average. This is to be expected given the very good Primera harvest in 2011 compared to a near-average harvest in 2012. White maize and red beans prices are expected to follow  normal, seasonal decreasing or stable trends through March due to near-average national Postrera (Nov-Dec) and Apante (Jan-Feb) harvests. Staple food prices are likely to increase seasonably beginning in April.

    Food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) at least through the end of the projection period in March 2013. The lean season will begin normally in April.

    Dry Corridor

    Postrera rainfall has been similarly poor in the dry corridor compared to the rest of the country, and yet crop development is reported to be similarly favorable. Nov/Dec Postrera harvests in the 2006 and 2009 analogue rainfall years were 50-70 percent of the 2007 – 2011 average in this area. Above-average technical and input support, large increases in area planted and more favorable rainfall to-date suggest that Postrera harvests in western Nicaragua are likely to be better than in analogue years. In addition, harvest losses are likely to be less than initially expected at the beginning of the season.

    The Agriculture Ministry and Coffee Association have detected a slightly above-average prevalence of coffee rust in the dry corridor. As a result, the 2012 harvest is likely to be below last year’s above-average production, though still near the five-year average.  Demand for coffee harvest labor will likely remain average. Coffee rust usually expands between February and May. There is plenty of time for treatment to prevent significant expansion, and no significant damage is expected for future harvests at this time. In addition, FEWS NET estimates that current coffee prices are sufficiently high to cover the cost of treatment.

    Given fewer Postrera losses than initially expected, average labor income and affordable staple food prices, food insecurity levels are likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) at least through the end of the projection period in March 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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