Food Security Outlook Update, March 2011

Situation Report
Originally published
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Rising prices sustained by trader speculation and uncertainty

Key Messages

• The month of March marks the beginning of the lean season, which runs up until June. Very poor and poor households in shantytowns across the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, the Southern peninsula, the Northwest, and the Artibonite will have difficulty meeting their basic food needs between March and June.

• Smaller reserves of winter crops, higher world market prices for grain, higher fuel prices, and sociopolitical unrest could drive up food prices all across the country between March and May. Very poor and poor households hard hit by last year’s disasters will suffer the most from the rise in prices. However, a number of humanitarian organizations are working to ease these hardships through cash and food-for-work programs.

• Farmers are beginning to prepare themselves for a successful spring growing season. However, ongoing assistance efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture and its partners are still not to last year’s aid flow levels. With prices for farm inputs on the rise and poor farmers unable to meet their food needs, production is expected to fall short of last year’s figures which, according to estimates, were already below-normal. However, rainfall forecasts indicate a likely average harvest. Moreover, the government is covering the rising price of oil.