GIEWS Update: Central America - Drought causes crop losses in “Dry Corridor” in Central America (27 August 2018)

Highlights:

• There is a high risk of contraction in the production of basic grain crops in Central America because of the intensified "heat wave" in July, affecting the flowering and grain-filling phases of the crops.

• The maize and bean crops grown for self-consumption are expected to be the most affected, mainly in the areas of the “Dry Corridor”. The extent to which the crops are affected highly depends on the timing of sowing and the geographical distribution of rain.

• As of 15 August 2018, the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras reported losses of 282 000 hectares in maize and bean crops, resulting in an estimated 2.2 million people at risk of food insecurity.

• In general, the period of food shortage in the region is between April and August, with supplies getting particularly tight from July. This season’s crop losses could make the next lean season more pronounced, with tight supplies and a worsening food security situation setting in earlier-than-normal in 2019 in the “Dry Corridor” area.

• There is a 60 percent probability (IRI/CPC, August 2018) that the El Niño phenomenon would occur in late 2018, which could put the second and third season production in the region at risk.

• To anticipate and mitigate the impact of the drought, national governments are identifying measures that contribute to risk reduction, early action and potential response in collaboration with FAO and WFP.