Guatemala

GIEWS Country Brief: Guatemala 22-October-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Production of 2021 main season maize crop anticipated at near‑average level

  • Cereal import requirements forecast at high levels in 2021/22 marketing year

  • Prices of white maize 15 percent higher year on year in September

  • Food insecurity situation projected to improve in September 2021 to January 2022 period

Production of 2021 main season maize crop anticipated at near‑average level

Harvesting the 2021 main season maize crop just finalized in the southern region and in the key producing departments of Petén and Alta Verapaz. In centralwestern highlands, where the cropping cycle is longer, harvesting will take place in the November to December period. Seasonal production is forecast at an average level, mainly reflecting near‑average accumulated rainfall amounts between April and August and an average planted area.

Planting operations of the 2021 minor season maize crop have recently started in northeastern areas, where seasonal production is concentrated. Reduced precipitation amounts since end‑September have negatively affected soil moisture levels and resulted in below‑average crop conditions (NDVI Anomaly map). Slightly below‑average precipitation amounts are forecast in northeastern areas for the rest of 2021, with potentially negative effects on crop yields. If the forecast materializes, the impact is likely to be greater for black beans that are mainly grown in the current postrera season.

Cereal import requirements forecast at high levels in 2021/22 marketing year

Cereal import requirements in the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at an above‑average level of 2.2 million tonnes, with maize imports accounting for two‑thirds. Cereal import requirements have been increasing steadily over the last decade due to the strong demand for yellow maize by the feed industry, combined with the sustained demand of wheat‑based food products in line with an increasing population.

Prices of white maize 15 percent higher year on year in September

Despite a decline in September due to commercialization of the 2021 main season harvest, prices of white maize were more than 15 percent higher year on year. The high level of prices was due to sustained increases during the first half of 2021, in line with trends in the international market. Increasing production and transportation costs added upward pressure on prices. Prices of black beans and rice have been overall stable throughout 2021, reflecting adequate market supplies.

Food insecurity situation projected to improve in September 2021 to January 2022 period

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, population in acute food insecurity (classified under IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] or above) is projected at 2.5 million between September 2021 and January 2022, with a decrease of nearly 1 million people compared to the May to August period. The improvement in food security conditions is mainly due to increased supplies of staple food and improved seasonal farm labour opportunities for cash crops. After an economic slowdown in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the gradual recovery of the local economy in 2021, together with a rebound in inflows of remittances, are expected to restore livelihoods.