GIEWS Country Brief: Honduras 28-October-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Maize production in 2019 anticipated at below‑average level due to prolonged dry spells that affected main season crops

  • Cereal imports forecast to increase and reach high levels in 2019/20 marketing year

  • Prices of white maize below their year‑earlier levels

Maize production in 2019 anticipated at below‑average level due to prolonged dry spells that affected main season crops

Harvesting of the 2019 main season maize crop was completed in September and production is officially estimated at a below‑average level due to prolonged dry weather conditions in the June‑August period (see ASI map). In comparison to the long‑term average (1989‑2018), the rainfall amounts during this period were more than 25 percent lower than the average in several maize producing departments. According to the Dirección de Ciencia y Tecnología Agropecuaria (DICTA), the crops in Francisco Morazán, Olancho and El Paraíso departments were severely affected by rainfall deficits, even those under irrigation. A large number of livestock died due to forage and water deficits in Olancho Department.

In order to minimize the impact of dryness on the livelihoods of the affected households, the Government is distributing fertilizers and seeds of maize, beans or rice for the ongoing “postrera” season. As part of a short‑term response plan, the Government envisions to build rainwater harvesting systems and wells to facilitate imports to meet the domestic demand and to increase financing for irrigation systems.

Rainfall amounts increased since mid‑September, reducing soil moisture deficits and easing planting operations of the 2019 minor season maize crop, to be harvested in December. Given the low probability of occurrence of an El Niño phenomenon during the last quarter of 2019, production of the minor maize crop is likely to be at average level. Overall, the aggregate maize crop in 2019 is anticipated at a below‑average level of 470 000 tonnes, due to the low outputs gathered in the main season harvest, which accounts for about 80 percent of the annual production.

Cereal imports forecast to increase and reach high levels in 2019/20 marketing year

Cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (September/August) are forecast at a well above-average level of 1.1 million tonnes due to the reduced maize output. Imports have been increasing steadily since 2016 due to the growing demand for wheat and rice, which the country is largely dependent on imports to satisfy its domestic consumption needs, due to population growth and the increasing demand for yellow maize for feed use.

Prices of white maize below year-earlier levels

Domestic prices of white maize increased from the beginning of 2019 to September when their started to decline with the commercialization of supplies from the main season harvests. They were below their levels a year earlier, which were significantly elevated as high fuel costs in 2018 contributed to substantial increases in production and transportation costs. Prices of red beans have been the rise since May 2019, following seasonal trends. In September 2019, they were higher than a year earlier, reflecting reduced minor season outputs, harvested in September.