Haiti

GIEWS Country Brief: Haiti 10-June-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Harvest of 2021 main season maize and paddy crops ongoing

  • Cereal production in 2020 estimated at below-average level

  • Cereal import requirements anticipated at above-average levels in 2020/21

  • Prices of staple food on rising during first four months of 2021

  • Low food availability and access affect about 4.4 million people

Harvest of 2021 main season maize and paddy crops ongoing

The harvest of the 2021 main printemps season maize and paddy crops has recently started in June. Current crop conditions are generally favourable (NDVI anomaly map) as abundant seasonal rains in March and April favoured crop emergence and development. However, precipitation amounts in May were below average, especially in the minor producing southern and northern areas. Despite favourable weather conditions at planting time, the extent of the area sown was constrained by costly and scarce agricultural inputs. With the aim to increase farmers’ access to inputs, the government introduced price ceilings on fertilizers in November 2020 amid the increasing inflation rate. Other efforts to increase crop yields include the inauguration of a hydro-electric dam in the North-East Department in May 2021 and the cleaning of some irrigation canals.

In the July-September period, the weather forecast indicates a high likelihood of above-average precipitation amounts, reducing soil moisture deficit and providing conducive conditions for the 2021 minor automne season crops.

Cereal production in 2020 estimated at below-average level

Although official data is not yet available, the 2020 cereal output is estimated at 370 000 tonnes, nearly 10 percent below the previous five-year average. The low level of production mainly reflects limited precipitation amounts from April to July 2020, which affected the main season maize and paddy crops, and the limited access to seeds and other agricultural inputs due to economic constraints.

Cereal import requirements anticipated at above-average levels in 2020/21

The cereal import requirements for the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), mostly wheat and rice, are anticipated at a slightly above-average level of 830 000 tonnes. The large import requirements mainly reflect the reduced rice production in 2020 and the strong domestic demand for wheat products that are not produced locally.

Prices of staple food rising during first four months of 2021

Prices of mostly imported rice have generally increased from January to April 2021, mainly reflecting the weakening of the currency. After a significant appreciation in October 2020, following interventions by the Central Bank, the Haitian gourde has been depreciating steadily. As of May 2021, the currency lost about 37 percent of its value compared to November 2020. Prices of locally produced maize meal also increased during the four first months of 2021 in line with seasonal trends. By contrast, prices of black beans were generally stable due to abundant supplies from large imports between July 2020 and March 2021.

Low food availability and access affect about 4.4 million people

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, about 4.4 million people (46 percent of the population analyzed), are forecast to be severely food insecure from March to June 2021. The worst situations are reported in the departments of Nord-Ouest and Sud-Est, which are classified under IPC Phase 4: “Emergency.” The high levels of food insecurity reflect the worsening households’ access to food, which was constrained by the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily through income and job losses. The low availability of locally produced staple crops and high prices of food items exacerbated the situation. The ongoing socio-political unrest has disrupted market activities, especially in urban areas. Furthermore, the reduced mobility due to road blockage and increasing insecurity has further affected the access to food.

In the Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan 2020-2023, the government aims at lowering the share of the severely food insecure population to 25 percent by 2023. In order to achieve this target, the Plan has several actions to boost food production, including the establishment of new irrigation systems, the modernization of farm equipment and the provision of free and/or subsidized agricultural inputs and extension services.