El Salvador + 2 more

El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua: Key Message Update - Seasonal improvements with the primera harvest begin to reduce food insecurity, September 2021

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Key Messages

Poor households in the Honduran Dry Corridor and the coffee-producing areas of central and eastern Honduras are likely to continue experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through January. The key drivers for this include below-average maize and bean production among smallholder farmers – limiting households’ own-produced stocks and increasing market reliance – and reduced demand for labor on coffee farms – lowering incomes.

Nicaragua is expected to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes beginning in October as the arrival of primera harvests and improvements in demand for manual labor reduce households’ food insecurity. However, some worst-affected poor households in the Nicaraguan Dry Corridor are expected to continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, mainly due to above-average prices.

Similarly, in El Salvador, most poor households are likely to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes by October, with declining prices and increasing cash crop labor demand and household income as well as own-produced stocks from the primera harvest. Poor households in the western coffee producing areas are also expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes due to a slight improvement in this year’s production, higher market prices for coffee beans, and rising demand for non-agricultural informal labor, improving household income.

Across the region, prices of red beans and white maize are expected to follow their seasonal decline as the primera harvest is increasingly available on markets, although in Nicargua they will remain higher than average due to high input and transportation costs. Red bean prices have already seen reductions, while most white maize retail and wholesale prices reported increases of 5 to 13 percent from August to September, as most harvests have not yet entered the market. For several months, inflation has also driven up these prices, while trader speculation played a role in increasing rates in Nicaragua.

In rural areas, peak demand for manual labor will last from October through February, increasing income for households reliant on these livelihoods. Labor demand is expected to be higher than last year, as COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed and improved protocols are in place. Nonetheless, labor demand for coffee and sugar cane harvests in Honduras is expected to be below-average, tied to decreases in production related to damages from the 2020 hurricanes and this season’s erratic rainfall.