FEWS Guatemala Food Security Situation, Aug-Sep 2008 - Heavy rains damage crops and infrastructure

Situation Report
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- The heavy rainfall in July and August affected household production of crops in the north, south, and west of the country intended for consumption and commercial sale, thus reducing household food availability and incomes. Affected households will benefit from the postrera maize and bean harvests in November (and in the north, from grain harvests in January and February). However, they will have to resort to market purchases earlier than normal in the year ahead.

- Heavy rains have damaged infrastructure, hindering movement, access, and marketing activities during the hunger period, and have contributed to price increases for staple foods.

- The beginning of the season of high demand for unskilled labor needed to harvest cash crops will improve income–earning opportunities for the poorest households between October and March.

- With the start of the primera staple food harvest, the annual hunger season has come to an end; food availability will improve, and markets are expected to respond with lower prices.

- Approximately 1 million people are currently highly food insecure, concentrated in the western and some eastern municipalities of the country. The majority of this food insecurity is chronic and due to structural factors, but food security of some households has worsened due to crop and infrastructure damages caused by heavy rainfall and low crop yields resulting from poor fertilization.