El Salvador

FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 11/99 - El Salvador

Storm rains and flooding in September and first half of October have affected the country, particularly in the low lying areas of the Lempa River region, in the east, the Ahuachapán department, in the west, and the capital of San Salvador and suburbs. A state of emergency has been declared by the Government. A number of casualties is reported. Mass evacuation of people has been effected and emergency food distributed with the assistance of the international community. Considerable damage to infrastructure has been incurred as some of the areas had been severely affected in 1998 by the passage of hurricane "Mitch". A preliminary assessment of damage to the agricultural sector indicates that some 8 000 tonnes of maize, 1 324 tonnes of beans, 1 325 tonnes of sorghum and 345 tonnes of rice have been destroyed. These represent, in aggregate, about 2 per cent of the anticipated annual output; however, maize losses between 50 and 100 percent are reported in the most affected areas. Other minor foodcrops and some major export crops, such as sugar (1 900 hectares), and numerous small animal farms have been affected by the floods. The food situation for the country as a whole is under control, but some of the affected areas have suffered from food shortages and an increase in the price of beans is reported. Despite losses incurred, cereal outputs (both crops) are expected to be above average, while production of beans, an important food staple in the population's diet, is anticipated to be average. Maize imports in marketing year 1999/2000 (August/July), mostly for the feed industry, is forecast to decrease from last year's 264 000 tonnes to about 150 000 tonnes.