Guatemala: Food Insecurity and Drought Appeal no. MDRGT009, Operation Update no. 1



According to the forecast issued in April 2016 by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), in 2016, the development of subsistence basic grain crops in parts of the dry corridor will be affected by the late and irregular start of the rainy season, forecasted below average accumulated rainfall levels and the unusually high temperatures due to a weakened El Niño phenomenon.

Moreover, the fact that many of these farmers lack technical assistance from agricultural extension workers and agricultural inputs or the means to obtain them increases the negative impact on final harvest yields. It is particularly concerning that that dry corridor municipalities located in the Temperate Western Highlands are in Crisis (Phase 3, Climate Investment Funds [CIF]) since April 2015 due to significant crop loss in 2015 following a severe drought and their limited income generation options. Given that the annual food shortage period is fully in place, with no new harvests coming in and limited seasonal employment opportunities, it is expected that these households will continue in this situation until the November/December 2016 basic grains harvest if extended emergency assistance is not provided. With such a long crisis period and no emergency assistance providing greater coverage in the short term, this region is the one that causes the greatest concern in the country and requires immediate attention.

In addition to the drought, the Guatemalan National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH for its acronym in Spanish) predicts a more active- than normal hurricane season this year in the Pacific, while the Atlantic and Caribbean regions will remain normal. It is possible that the country may experience some direct or indirect effects from cyclonic events during the early part of the rainy season, which may negatively affect the development of subsistence maize and bean crops.