In Central America, where the poor season will continue until the next harvest in August / September, family access to food remains limited. At this time of year, rural and urban households buy most of their food. However, food prices show an upward trend, as demand for labor during the pandemic remains atypically low, resulting in reduced household purchasing power. Moreover, the families affected by the hurricanes have not yet fully taken their livelihood from the influences of Eta and Iota. The population experiencing food consumption gaps or using negative coping strategies remains high, resulting in Crisis Outcomes (IPC Phase 3) in some areas. Areas with the highest concern include northern and southern Honduras, the Dry Corridor in Guatemala, northeastern Nicaragua, and coffee-producing areas in western El Salvador.
Prospects for Primera plant production remain favorable in most of Central America. In Guatemala and El Salvador, rainfall performance has supported the establishment of the corn crop. However, there is some concern about a messy start to the rainy season in eastern Guatemala. In contrast, below-average rainfall in parts of southern Honduras and northern Nicaragua in late April and May led to localized soil moisture deficits. There is potential for Primera maize loss in these areas, especially among subsistence farmers. According to weather forecasts, mid-season rainfall should support planting and crop development in the short cycle, which will mitigate the overall impact on national crop production.
In Haiti, where the peak of the poor season occurs in May, household access to food also remains low. Although markets are well supplied, sources of income are currently inadequate for households to purchase their minimum food needs in many areas. Local prices of yellow corn and black beans have risen seasonally, while the price of imported foods such as rice – which are strongly correlated with the informal market exchange rate – remains well above average.
Although crop development for print crops in June is largely favorable, food security is likely to improve only from June to September. The socio-political and security climate remains volatile and demonstrations can have negative consequences on informal work and trade and market supply, reducing the incomes of poor families. Most poor households are likely to continue to adopt negative strategies to meet their food needs, such as consuming green crops or seeds, reducing meal quantities, buying food on credit, and selling more livestock than usually. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and stressful (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to remain prevalent until September.