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Millions of households remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) despite improvements in macroeconomics and food security indicators

  • Key Message Update
  • Venezuela
  • April 2024
Millions of households remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) despite improvements in macroeconomics and food security indicators

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Very poor households that receive their income in VED and lack access to government social programs or international remittances – especially in the urban and peri-urban areas of Distrito Capital, Anzoátegui, Guárico, Barinas, Apure and Zulia – will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the entire period of analysis. They are facing significant inflation with fixed incomes that are not sufficient to cover their food needs. On the other hand, most households with several sources of income or with better access to vouchers do not have gaps in their consumption, but face difficulties in covering their non-food needs, resulting in broadly Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September. 
    • In addition, a portion of smallholder farmers in Amazonas, Bolivar, and Delta  Amacuro states are continuing in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to the effects of a prolonged period of below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures that have affected agricultural production and limited labor demand. In April,Venezuela experienced contrasting rainfall patterns, with above-average precipitation in the west and southwest, mainly in the states of Zulia, Táchira, Mérida, and Barinas. In contrast, dry conditions persisted in the east, affecting states such as Sucre, Monagas, Anzoátegui, and Delta Amacuro, which have already caused water stress for crops and pastures, especially with the atypically hot conditions. However, rainfall is expected to stabilize in May and the arrival of rains is expected to reactivate the production of short-cycle crops (tubers, maize, legumes) and the demand for labor. In September, with the arrival of the rice and maize harvests, it is expected that most smallholder farmers will see an improvement in their access to food, moving to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.    
    • Venezuela registered an annual inflation of 67.7 percent in March, while monthly inflation stood at 1.2 percent, the lowest since August 2012, following monthly inflation of 1.7 percent in January and February. The deceleration of inflation in March is mainly attributed to the moderation of public spending, following the payment of Sistema la Patria vouchers between February and March. In addition, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) has increased its intervention with the exchange rate to stabilize the official rate, as has Chevron. However, despite this slight improvement, more upward pressure on the exchange rate is expected in the coming months due to high public spending during the election season. In March, the parallel exchange rate increased by 0.6 percent over the previous month to 38.18 VED/USD. 
    • In March 2024, prices of a simple diet of cereals and oil and a diversified diet remained stable with a variation of less than 5 percent in both VED and USD compared to February. Despite the moderation of inflation, household purchasing power remains limited as income has not kept up with ever-increasing prices. This situation is aggravated for very poor households, such as informal workers and retirees among others, who receive their income only in VED and do not have income in USD, nor do they receive remittances and/or have limited access to social programs. The minimum wage remains stable at 130 VED while the cost of a simple diet is 4,197 VED (equivalent to 110 USD). 
    • According to a survey funded by international donors in late 2023, average monthly income stood at 171.92 USD (compared to 132.40 USD at the end of 2022) with 60 percent of the population reporting employment as a main source of income. There is a significant difference between the monthly average of those earning in the private sector (188.90 USD with 27 percent of the group), those working independently including within the informal economy (162.70 USD with 50 percent of the group), and those earning in the public sector in VED (equivalent to 91.80 USD with 23 percent of the group). However, most poor households earn less. While the average amount of remittances received by households increased slightly from 80 USD to 93 USD per household, only 17 percent of households reported receiving remittances. In addition, there was a slight increase in voucher coverage, with 62 percent of the population receiving an average of 5.96 USD per month in 2023 compared to 5.51 USD for 55 percent of the population in 2022. But the survey also revealed a slight decrease in CLAP (Comités Locales de Abastecimiento y Producción) coverage and frequency between 2022 and 2023; 82 percent of the population received CLAP in 2023 compared to 86 percent in 2022, with 36 and 35 percent receiving it monthly, 46 and 51 percent every two to three months, and 18 and 14 percent every three months or more, respectively.
    • In 2023, food security indicators showed moderate progress compared to 2022 according to the aforementioned survey. At the national level, the Food Consumption Score (FCS) indicates that 96 percent of the population had acceptable access to food, while 3 percent was borderline, and 1 percent had poor consumption. These figures represent a slight improvement compared to 2022, when 6 percent of the population had borderline and 3 percent poor consumption. There was also a reduction in the Household Hunger Scale (HHS) value nationally, only 7 percent reported moderate hunger in 2023, when in 2022 this figure was 11 percent with a separate 1 percent reporting severe hunger. However, dietary diversity remains difficult, especially in the north of the country, and the Reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI), which measures negative coping strategies in households, still measures 6.3 percent of the population reporting the use of unsustainable strategies to fill gaps in food consumption.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Venezuela Key Message Update April 2024: Millions of households remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) despite improvements in macroeconomics and food security indicators, 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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