Actualização da Perspectiva de Segurança Alimentar

The scarcity of the dollar on the foreign-exchange market risks compromising food access amid socio-political instability

Decembrie 2020

Decembrie 2020 - Janeiro 2021

Fevereiro - Maio 2021

Fases de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda baseadas em IPC v3.0

1: Minima
2: Stress
3: Crise
4: Emergência
5: Fome
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência humanitária em vigor ou programad
A maneira de classificação que utiliza FEWS NET é compatível com a IPC. A análise compatível com a IPC segue os protocolos fundamentais da IPC mas não necessariamente reflete o consenso dos parceirosnacionais com respeito a segurança alimentar.

Fases de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda baseadas em IPC v3.0

1: Minima
2: Stress
3: Crise
4: Emergência
5: Fome
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência humanitária em vigor ou programad
A maneira de classificação que utiliza FEWS NET é compatível com a IPC. A análise compatível com a IPC segue os protocolos fundamentais da IPC mas não necessariamente reflete o consenso dos parceirosnacionais com respeito a segurança alimentar.

Fases de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda baseadas em IPC v3.0

1: Minima
2: Stress
3+: Crise ou pior
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência
humanitária em vigor ou programad
A maneira de classificação que utiliza FEWS NET é compatível com a IPC. A análise compatível com a IPC segue os protocolos fundamentais da IPC mas não necessariamente reflete o consenso dos parceirosnacionais com respeito a segurança alimentar.
Para os países de Monitoreo Remoto, FEWS NET utiliza um contorno de cor no mapa IPC para representar a classificação mais alta da IPC nas áreas de preocupação.

Fases de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda baseadas em IPC v3.0

Países com presença:
1: Minima
2: Stress
3: Crise
4: Emergência
5: Fome
Países sem presença:
1: Minima
2: Stress
3+: Crise ou pior
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência
humanitária em vigor ou programad
Para os países de Monitoreo Remoto, FEWS NET utiliza um contorno de cor no mapa IPC para representar a classificação mais alta da IPC nas áreas de preocupação.

As mensagens-chave

  • Below-normal autumn harvests, due to irregular rains and the decline in cultivated agricultural areas, have negatively impacted the start of the winter season, which already shows low national production except for in the irrigated plains and humid mountain areas. Farmers, who already lost capital due to the poor performance of previous seasons, earned little income to finance the winter season.

  • The security climate continues to deteriorate as February approaches, with the President called upon to resign. Kidnappings for ransom, assassinations, and socio-political demonstrations continued. This could further deteriorate food availability and access by disrupting the market supply, which would result in higher prices.

  • Moreover, despite the central bank (BRH)’s regular injections of dollars in the foreign-exchange market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire them. The exchange rate on the informal market reaches up to 85 gourdes to the dollar, while the reference rate calculated by the BRH is 70 gourdes as of December 11. This has reversed the downward trend in the prices of imported products, observed since September.

  • High prices for staple food products, amid below-average incomes, affect food access for the country’s poorest. For the most part, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity is expected to continue to May 2021.

CURRENT SITUATION

COVID-19 pandemic context. According to reports from the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP, 2020), the number of cases testing positive for COVID-19 has been increasing more slowly since the peak in May. This was the case until December 8, when the total number of cases rose to more than 9,000, with approximately 232 deaths, according to official statistics. However, the second half of December saw a significant increase (nearly 8 percent) in new cases, suggesting a new wave of the pandemic in the country.  Measures to slow the spread of the virus, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, are still in force. However, they are less restrictive and therefore becoming less respected by the population, resulting in a normal continuation of economic activities. Despite this upsurge, the authorities do not intend to lock down the country. Instead, they are advising the population to comply with restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.

Socio-political situation. The socio-political situation is very unstable and panic movements are observed from time to time in certain areas, particularly the Metropolitan Area of Port-au-Prince. Factors such as price increases and the call for the President of the Republic to resign by February 7, 2021, among others, continue to fuel instability in the country, particularly in the Haitian capital.

Rainfall conditions and winter growing season developments. In cumulative terms, the rainfall recorded during the month of November was unevenly distributed in time and space, with the exception of the Ouest, Sud-Est, Nord, and Centre departments. In the Nord department, much lower rainfall than normal was recorded during the month of November. Despite these temporal and spatial irregularities, the vegetation index remained around average during the month of November, indicating a sufficient level of humidity. Nevertheless, farmers, who already lost capital in previous bad seasons, are forced to limit their cultivated agricultural area for the winter season, with the exception of the irrigated plains in the Sud and Nord departments, and in humid mountain areas such as the Nippes and Sud-Est departments.

Food availability. Household food availability consists of the recent autumn maize and bean harvests. They also have bananas, pigeon peas, roots and tubers, and garden produce. The domestic market remains well supplied with food products, especially imported food. No stock shortages have been observed to date. Staple food flows have remained largely unaffected.

Markets and food prices. During the month of November, despite the intensification of insecurity with frequent kidnappings, no disruption was recorded in the markets. They are very well stocked and busy. Imported products are predominant, but local seasonal products and those from autumn harvests are very much in evidence.

While prices of local food products, particularly seed maize and black beans, were relatively stable in November, having fallen slightly (by 3 to 4 percent on average nationally) compared to September and October, prices of imported products, particularly rice, showed an upward trend.

Overall, prices are lower compared to November 2019. For example, prices for local maize and, notably, for imported rice fell 4 percent and 25 percent respectively. This is due to a cheaper dollar compared to the same period last year (about 70 gourdes against 93 in November 2019). However, staple food prices remain well above the five-year average.

Agricultural labor and other income sources. Despite preparations for the winter season and rice sowing and transplanting operations, the demand for labor is lower than usual. Due to the economic downturn, farmers have fewer means to start this season and hire workers. In addition, increased charcoal sales are serving as an important source of income for very poor households until the next agricultural activities (specifically the spring 2021 season). This situation is observed especially in the Haut Plateau and in the Nord-Est, Nord, Nippes, and Sud-Est departments.

Current food security results. Livelihoods remain fragile due to rising staple food prices and the low yield of the autumn growing season resulting in below-average incomes. Purchasing power continues to decrease and some households still resort to negative coping strategies (consumption of seed stocks that should be kept for the winter season, or others), consumption of unripe foods, and adults reducing their food consumption so that children can eat, in order to obtain nourishment. This category of households is in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Meanwhile, others have difficulty incurring non-food expenses and are resorting to purchasing food on credit and other strategies. These households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In this context, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will continue throughout the country until May 2021.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

The assumptions of the food security outlook report from October 2020 to May 2021 remain the same, with the exception of those updated below:

  • From December 2020 to January 2021, the difference between the exchange rates of the informal market and the central bank’s reference rate should continue to be very large. This results from the strong observed speculation in this market and also its accessibility, as commercial banks limit the volume sold to individuals to 50 or 100 dollars per day. However, it will maintain its stability until January 2021, thanks to a certain level of equilibrium in supply and demand and also to the continuation of certain measures taken by the government. These include the central bank’s Open Market operation, the requirement for transfers from transfer houses’ sub-agents to be paid in gourdes for better control of the amount of currency in circulation, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s requirement for businesses and sellers to set prices in gourdes, and better control of commercial banks by the central bank due to speculation. The increase in transfers at the end of the year is another factor among others.
  • From February to May 2021, other factors, including political instability, will negatively affect the value of the Haitian gourde against the dollar. However, the central bank’s announcement to inject 150 million USD into the economy in January to February 2021 will probably not have the same impact as the first injections in August 2020. Depreciation is not expected to reach the August level of about 120 gourdes to the dollar. 
  • Although some border points are open to trade, the accentuation of socio-political problems in Haiti could lead the Dominican authorities to reinforce border security measures that would cause a slowdown in border trade. The migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic will remain very limited, leading, once again, to lower-than-normal incomes.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2021

The autumn season harvests will temporarily improve food availability for some households, but only to a limited extent. In addition, the reversal of the exchange rate trend since mid-November, leading to further depreciation of the gourde against the US dollar, will lead to a slight increase in the prices of imported food products, particularly rice, vegetable oil, and wheat flour, among others. Regions that are more vulnerable to food insecurity due to chronic factors (higher poverty rate, market access difficulties), and that have not benefited from sufficient rainfall with resulting crop losses, will have lower food availability in the middle of the lean season. Households will have to rely more on markets to obtain food. In addition, socio-political disruptions and armed gangs still affect many households, especially in some areas of the capital. This in turn limits the movement of people and hinders some informal income-generating activities. Many areas continuing to employ the negative strategies mentioned above are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while others employing stress strategies will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

The second period of the scenario coincides with the peak of the winter harvests and the start of the spring 2021 season. These harvests are not large in terms of volume and are dominated by beans in the irrigated plains and humid mountain areas as well as pigeon peas, some roots and tubers, and bananas. Once the stocks from the winter and autumn harvests are consumed, households will then have to obtain supplies from the market starting in March 2021. Non-agricultural sources of income could be disrupted by socio-political unrest, particularly from February onwards. This factor, coupled with high staple food prices, could reduce household purchasing power, despite the central bank’s injections planned for January and February 2021. The poorest households would still have to resort to crisis strategies such as increasing charcoal sales, consuming low quality food, or reducing the number of daily meals. This would further erode livelihoods. In this context, the number of areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity could increase.

Acerca Deste Relatorio

Este relatório mensal cobre condições actuais assim como mudanças na perspectiva projectada sobre insegurança alimentar neste país. Actualiza a Perspectiva de Segurança Alimentar trimensal da FEWS NET. Mais informações sobre o nosso trabalho aqui.

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A Rede de Sistemas de AlertaPrecoce de Fome é líder na provisão de alertas precoces e análises relativas à insegurança alimentar. Estabelecida em 1985 com o fim de auxiliar os responsáveis pela tomada de decisões a elaborar planos para crises humanitárias, a FEWS NET provê análises baseadas em evidências em cerca de 35 países. Entre os membros implementadores refere-se a NASA , NOAA, USDA e o USGS, assim como a Chemonics International Inc. e a Kimetrica. Leia mais sobre o nosso trabalho.

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