Minimal levels of acute food insecurity expected despite the lean season
- Normal crop development is likely due to normal rainfall distribution. Localized rainfall deficits in July could lead to reduced yields in drier areas. Yet overall, the anticipated dry spell is likely to be less dry than usual in July. A tropical cyclone is anticipated to reach the north coast in June and could impact local production.
- Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1 IPC 2.0) through the projection period, even with the ongoing lean season, as poor households are meeting their needs. Despite the seasonal rise in prices, good national and regional production of red beans kept prices low and accessible. Further food access will result from the Primera season in August.
- Coffee rust will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest by at least 35 to 40 percent, which is on average higher than in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Consequently, labor demand and wages are likely to decrease by at least 30 percent during the next harvest (October 2013 to March 2014).
Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal even with the lean season underway
- The lean season is underway and will continue through August. Acute food insecurity will likely remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) through the projection period, September 2013, as poor households are meeting their needs due to average to good income, average production and relatively accessible consumer prices. Food access from the Primera season will be accessible from August on.
- Forecasts indicate normal rainfall throughout July, leading to an average Primera harvest. A less dry than normal canícula (dry spell) is expected in July and localized areas may face rainfall deficits. Therefore, local yields may be reduced. A tropical cyclone is likely to reach the north coast in June and could impact local production.
- Coffee rust will reduce 2013/2014 harvest by at least 35 to 40 percent, consequently labor demand and wages are likely to reduce by at least 30 percent during the next harvest (October 2013 to– March 2014).
Minimal acute food insecurity through the end of the consumption year.
- The acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0), even with the seasonal onset of the lean season in April, as poor households are meeting their food and nonfood needs from current average to good income and accessible consumer food prices.
- The Primera planting season will begin in May/June. Average amounts of rainfall and planted area are anticipated, followed by average harvests in August/September.
- The coffee rust outbreak will not significantly affect current yields or labor demand, yet will affect the 2013/14 harvest season.
- Acute food insecurity is likely to remain Minimal (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) through the end of the consumption year. Due to average to good income levels and accessible food prices, poor households are meeting their food and nonfood needs. These favorable conditions are likely to sustain poor households, even with the onset of the lean season in April.
- Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than normal in some areas. About 25 percent of coffee plants are affected nationally. As a result, the 2013/2014 harvest and labor demand are likely to be significantly reduced.
Food insecurity likely Minimal in 2013
- Acute food insecurity is likely to be in Phase 1: Minimal (IPC 2.0) throughout the projection period, June, as Postrera harvest resulted in near average national production and households are meeting their food and nonfood expenditures from an above to average income and accessible food prices. The lean season will normally begin in April.
- Coffee rust prevalence is three to four times higher than the normal, manageable range. Labor demand for maintenance activities to mitigate coffee rust and to meet the increment in coffee production is likely to be slightly above average from January to April/May.
Food insecurity likely Minimal in 2013
- In general, Postrera rainfall was significantly better than initially expected nationwide. Near-average national Postrera (mainly red bean) harvests are expected.
- Poor rainfall was concentrated in surplus-production areas of Olancho and Colón, where the Postrera harvest will be below average.
- Acute food insecurity is likely to remain in phase 1: Minimal (IPC 2.0) levels through at least March 2013. The lean season will begin normally in April.
Food insecurity likely Minimal through March 2013
- Food insecurity will remain Phase 1: Minimal (IPC 2.0) at least through the end of the projection period in March 2013 due to likely near-average Postrera harvest, as well as average prices and income from wage labor.
- Postrera crop development and rainfall will likely be slightly below average in some surplus-producing areas of Olancho and Colón, as well as in subsistence areas of the South. Despite this, harvests are likely to be near average.
- In the South, below-average harvests and above-average purchases are likely to lead to an early start of the lean season around April instead of May as is usual.
In the South, where below-average 2012 Primera and Postrera harvests are likely to result in below-average own production and income from agricultural labor and crop sales, poor households may face an early start to the lean season in March 2013 instead of May as is usual. Phase 2: Stressed of the IPC 2.0 scale is likely in 2013. (September 2012)
Central and southern Honduras were worst-affected by below-average July-August rainfall. Primera harvests, primarily maize, are expected to be 40-50 percent of average in some areas. National Primera harvests, however, are likely to be moderately below average for white maize but significantly above average for red beans. (September 2012)
Forecasts for below-average Postrera rainfall season suggest that red bean harvests are unlikely to meet their full potential.The Postrera red bean harvest is likely to be below that of the past two years, but will still likely be better than the 2006 and 2009 analogue rainfall years due to significant increases in area planted. (September 2012)
The April-August/September Primera season rainfall has been below average and somewhat erratic with longer than usual dry spells in the far south (see: September 2012 Pentad 5 Water Resources Requirements Satisfaction Index), and temperatures have been unusually high, resulting in above-average water loss to soils and plants. Furthermore, over the past six years, the Honduran government had been delivering agricultural inputs for seasons, resulting in production increases. However, this year, Primera inputs were delivered late and mainly for red beans rather than maize, traditionally the primary Primera crop. As a result of these factors, the areas where production was lowest were marginal agro-industrial and timber-producing areas of central and southern Honduras (Choluteca, Valle, and southern parts of El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán and La Paz), where production may be as low as 50 percent of for white maize and 40 percent for beans of the recent average. Some surplus maize-producing areas of western Olancho and central parts of El Paraíso regions were also affected, but less-so. This year’s Primera harvests are significantly below last years’ harvests (17 percent for white maize and 27 percent for red beans) but this is not a good measure of the sufficiency of the harvest given that last year’s Primera was exceptionally good. This year, despite some locally severe losses, national Primera maize production is only 17 percent below the five-year average. Production of Primera red beans, however, will be almost 40 percent above average due to large increases in area planted over the last two years (due to input support and good prices) and the extra input support this year (as recovery for poor 2011 Postrera bean production). In fact, it is possible that some of the below-average maize harvest may be attributed to a shift in area planted from white maize to red beans. (September 2012)
Most farmers are preparing their land for the Postrera season, which is generally sown in September and harvested in December and January. The Meteorological Service (SMN) suggests that rainfall through the remainder of the season (Oct-Nov) will likely be below average, particularly in the same central, southern, and eastern regions that were affected by the erratic Primera rains. This is similar to 2006 or 2009 seasonal forecasts, when Primera maize harvests were relatively similar to those of 2012, but poor Postrera rainfall led to below-average yields, particularly for red beans, the most significant Postrera crop. Postrera red bean production will likely be significantly below the production of the past two years, when rainfall was more favorable and Postrera input support was much more substantial. However, given that production over the past two years has been so good with significant increases to area planted, the total 2012 Postrera may still be near average and significantly better than 2006 and 2009.(September 2012)
2012 prices for red beans have been about 20 percent below last year and the five year average so far due to the excellent 2011 Postrera harvests in the region. Prices for maize are near the five-year average. Prices of both maize and red beans were stable nationally between July and August. The exception is in areas of the South facing below-average Primera harvests, where prices increased significantly (10-20 percent) between July and August. In these areas, initial indications of September prices suggest the start of normal, seasonal decreases, but close monitoring is needed. Also, high prices for U.S. yellow maize for 2012/13 could result in a shift in demand (usually agro-industry) toward cheaper white maize. If so, prices for white maize could increase faster and rise higher than usual, particularly after January 2013. (September 2012)
The season for high labor demand for sugarcane, shrimp, watermelon, and coffee beans activities goes from October 2012 to April/May 2013 with a peak from November – March. Labor demand will likely be near normal for sugarcane (largest employer in the South), shrimp, and watermelon. However, information from the National Coffee Institution suggests that 2012/13 coffee harvests (in the West where rainfall was good) are likely to be significantly above average, leading to above-average labor demand. (September 2012)
Own-production constitutes only 20 percent of poor households’ annual food consumption in southern Honduras. They rely primarily on the Primera harvest between August and October, phasing in purchases between October and the Postrera harvest in December. They typically follow a similar pattern of mixing own production and purchases between December and March. This year, low Primera production, low prices for the Primera red beans, and the anticipated slightly larger than usual increase in cereal prices beginning in 2013 may result in above-average food expenditures particularly for maize purchases beginning in October through the end of the consumption year in July/August 2013. Households will likely be able to meet food and non-food needs through at least March with income from the sugarcane, coffee, shrimp, and melon harvests. In the South, below-average harvests may result in below-average income from crop sales as well, poor households may face an early start to the lean season in March instead of May as is usual. IPC 2.0 Phase 2: Stressed is likely in these areas in 2013. (September 2012)
The food security situation continues to be stable across the country, although households from livelihood zones 5 and 8 (Departments of Choluteca and Valle and South of La Paz, Francisco Morazan and El Paraiso) are currently experiencing the lean season and have depleted food reserves. (August 2012)
White maize and beans crops across the country are in their fructification stage and some have been harvested. In higher elevation zones the crops are just starting the fructification stage. In July the Agriculture Ministry (SAG) production estimates for sowed areas of white maize and beans is approximately 158,000 Ha and 55,000 Ha respectively. According to FAO, vulnerable zones in the southern region that were affected by below normal rainfall have reported losses of up to 50 percent. At the national level the Primera production loss estimate will be approximately 10 percent and this will not significantly affect the national production. (August 2012)
According to the Honduras Meteorological Service, July rainfall was below normal in central, south and eastern regions of the country. Low rainfall levels are forecasted until October, with the rainy season ending earlier than normal in during the beginning of November. These climate conditions will affect the sowing and could reduce the Postrera harvest. (August 2012)
Retail and wholesale beans prices have been stable since May 2012, but retail and wholesale white maize prices increased by 14 and 13 percent, respectively, due to speculation of losses. Nevertheless, both commodity prices remain below the July 2011 prices and the five year average. Normally there is a price increase in June, but it is expected that prices could decrease over the next few months due to the arrival of the Primera season. (August 2012)
In June the Honduran Government held 35,000 quintals of beans and 40,000 quintals of white maize through their price regulation entity (BANSUPRO). These quintals of beans and white maize are programmed to be released slowly into the markets in order to avoid high price increases. So far 18,000 quintals have been released. (August 2012)
The food security situation is stable in most areas of the country. The Primera harvest will begin in late August, providing households with food supplies. However, crop losses in areas in the southern region will only provide households with 2 months of food supplies. The climate forecast indicates that the Postrera season could be affected by below normal rainfall, potentially causing an early start of the lean season in 2013. (August 2012)
The food security conditions in Honduras are generally stable in most parts of the country; although households from livelihood zone 5 (Departments of Choluteca and Valle) are currently experiencing the lean season and have depleted food reserves. In these areas, households are acquiring income and maintaining their purchasing power through available unskilled labor opportunities, allowing them to meet their immediate food needs. Many households are also taking out food loans with their neighbors. The World Food Program (WFP) is starting to distribute food packages that are expected to reach 20,000 families in these departments. Food package distributions are also taking place in other zones reporting low food reserves. (July 2012)
The Ministry of Agriculture (SAG) has distributed agriculture input packages to subsistence farmers. So far the most vulnerable households in the Departments of Atlántida, Colon, Gracias a Dios, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Choluteca, Valle, Comayagua, La Paz and Olancho have received packages. The distribution of input packages was late for the Primera planting of white maize, but on time for the Primera planting of beans. (July 2012)
White maize crops across the country are in the vegetative stage and currently forming tassels as they enter into their reproductive stage. According to preliminary reports of SAG, the total sowed area of white maize is approximately 98,000 Ha and 49,000 Ha of beans. According to the Soil Water index images from FEWS NET, the areas of stress due to low humidity have expanded to the north and central parts of the country. Less than one percent of maize and 3.6 percent of beans have been lost due to below normal rainfall in the areas surrounding the Departments of La Paz, Comayagua, Francisco Morazán, El Paraiso, Olancho and Choluteca. (July 2012)
According to the Honduras’s Meteorological Service, during June the rainfall was below normal in the central and eastern areas of the country and this decline will probably continue until late October. The climate forecast could affect the harvest of the Primera and the sowing for the Postrera season. (July 2012)
The white maize and bean retail and wholesale prices have been stable since May 2012. These prices have been maintained due to price regulation through the government distribution entity (BANASUPRO). The reserves of this entity include 35,000 quintals of beans and 40,000 quintals of white maize, which are programmed to be released slowly into markets in order to avoid high price increases in basic grains during the anticipated dry spell. (July 2012)
If the drought affects the Departments of Paraiso and Olancho this could affect national white maize production, while increasing the prices of basic grains. In addition to this, the drought that is affecting the United States could also impact prices of yellow maize in-country over the next few months because yellow maize is predominantly used for livestock feed and mostly imported from the United States. (July 2012)
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), households in livelihoods zone 5 have depleted their food reserves and those in livelihoods zones 8 and 11 currently have low food reserves. Nevertheless, households in these zones are receiving food aid and or other assistance, and should soon be able to replenish their food reserves as they enter the end of the Primera season. (July 2012)