Heavy rains hit Central America as Tropical Depression 12E made landfall between October 10th and October 19th. With 188 municipalities impacted, El Salvador was the most affected country in the region. Infrastructure and crops were severely damaged. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently involved in recovery efforts.
Preliminary reports indicate that 263,518 producers and 175,610 hectares of maize, beans, rice, and sorghum were affected. According to the Government, estimated losses of basic grains and beans are approximately 1.6 million quintals, including 987,890 quintals of maize and 339,835 of beans. Given these losses, the government has authorized tax-free imports of 25,000 metric tons of red beans and 50,000 metric tons of maize over the next three months. These imports are expected to stay within the country to help stabilize local prices.
The harvest of sugarcane was delayed but started on November 7th, and is expected to be 8 percent above last year, meaning labor opportunities will not be affected in livelihood zone 3. However, coffee production was affected, and labor opportunities are expected to be below average as a result. In livelihood zone 6, the harvest of shrimp was severely affected, and the government is currently planning to sow 50 millions larvae to yield an expected 700,000 pounds by March to make up for the losses. This assistance will generate employment opportunities for households in zone 6 and the surrounding area.
In October, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) decreased 0.07 percent whereas inflation increased by 5.08 percent despite the effects of Tropical Depression 12E. The decrease in CPI is related to the expectation of good harvests and well-supplied markets before the onset of Tropical Depression 12E and a decrease in non-alcoholic beverage and transport prices. Prices will likely increase in November as a result of agricultural losses if the Government import program does not keep prices adequately low.
The Government has requested international assistance to help its efforts in restoring household reserves and livelihoods. Currently, households affected by Tropical Depression 12E are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) while households in other areas in El Salvador remain Stable (IPC Phase 1).