FEWS Guatemala Food Security Outlook, Jul to Dec 2008

Situation Report
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While the April to August hunger season continues and prices for basic food staples have increased, the food security situation remains relatively stable for this time of year (Figure 1). Sowing of primera staple cereal crops is progressing well, although pest–and flood– related damage was reported in July in the southern parts of the country and along the east and northern coast, respectively. Normal to above– normal rains this quarter threaten lives and livelihoods, including health conditions as well as infrastructure. Given such conditions, approximately 1.9 million people are currently food insecure.

Figure 1: Current estimated food security conditions, July to September 2008

Source: MFEWS

In the most likely scenario, October to December, rainfall is expected to be normal to above– normal, with probable floods and landslides. The incidence of diseases, such as dengue, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, is expected to increase. Cereal prices will have stabilized with the primera harvest (August– September), although basic food basket prices will remain above normal. Approximately 1.9 million people will remain food insecure.

In the worst– case scenario, October to December, at least one tropical storm or hurricane would occur, resulting in the loss of postrera basic grains crops as well as agro– industrial products. The reduced availability of food and demand for agricultural labor in affected areas will have a significant impact on the food security of the poorest households. In addition, storms or hurricanes will damage or destroy infrastructure and productive assets, and health conditions will deteriorate. Limited food availability at the market due to floods, combined with a continued increase in global prices, will push basic food prices beyond the purchasing power of poor households. In this scenario, the number of people food insecure will increase to over two million people.

Seasonal calendar and critical events

Source: MFEWS