Guatemala

FEWS Guatemala Food Security Outlook Apr - Sep 2009

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Situation Report
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- Food security throughout the country is stable, although it could start to deteriorate in the next three months, due to the start of the annual hunger season. During this season, after finishing their reserves, the poorest households depend completely upon the purchase of food. The government is in the process of activating a contingency plan to alleviate the situation.

- The start of the rainy season, which marks the first (primera) harvest, is forecast for the second half of April until the end of May, depending on the area of the country. It could be irregular on the Pacific coastal plain and in the southwest.

- The climatic perspective for the second quarter (May-July) indicates accumulated rain levels above normal in the northern areas of the country. Rain well above normal may result in crop losses, and damage to health and infrastructure due to floods and landslides. Accumulated rain levels within the normal range are expected in the rest of the country. However, there is a 35 percent probability that the central area of the country will be below normal. If so, there might be a reduction in crop yields.

- In the next several months, the decline of remittances, due to the international economic crisis, could affect the food access of poor and extremely poor families.

- The high cost of fertilizers will make it difficult for poor and extremely poor households to access them. The government is making an effort to distribute fertilizer in May.