Central America and Caribbean Key Message Update: Elevated prices remain a concern for poor households as seasonal demand for labor slows, February 2022 – Haiti – ReliefWeb

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Key Messages
In Central America, high food, fuel, and transportation prices driven by inflation are limiting purchasing power for poor households. This, together with the seasonal reduction in labor demand will result in most poor rural households facing Stress (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May 2022. Meanwhile, the poorest households located in the Honduran and Guatemalan Dry Corridor will continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to the accumulated deficits from the shocks of COVID-19, hurricanes Eta and Iota, and significant harvest losses during the primera and *postrera *seasons.
Despite the latest wave of COVID-19 cases, economic activities continue to improve and markets continue to operate normally and remain well supplied with local and imported staple foods. High prices of agricultural inputs and below-average postrera harvests due to drought conditions in Honduras and Nicaragua negatively affected the supply of beans in these countries, increasing prices by 18 and 25 percent, respectively. In contrast, wholesale prices of white maize remained stable in El Salvador and Honduras but increased in Nicaragua during December as compared to the previous month. In Guatemala, maize and bean prices continue to be above-average – by 35 and 31 percent, respectively – mainly due to the high costs of fuel and fertilizers.
The forecast for the next three months indicates rainfall accumulations close to the average for the entire region. This forecast is likely to favor the development of crops during the apante/postrera tardía cycle, which ends in March. Localized damage due to flooding and strong winds caused by the cold front season – active until March – have been reported in northern Guatemala.
In Haiti, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are most likely through May 2022 for poor neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, those in areas impacted by the earthquake, and those most vulnerable to rainfall and price shocks, who are heavily dependent on the market for their consumption. Households least affected by the shocks of 2021 and those receiving emergency humanitarian food assistance are likely to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May 2022.
Favorable climatic conditions are expected to allow for a successful launch of the spring agricultural campaign in certain regions of the country, particularly in Le Grand Sud. This will help to increase the demand for agricultural workers. Meanwhile, the ongoing season will soon result in the harvest of Congo peas, roots, tubers, bananas, and winter beans. According to the national meteorological service, average rainfall is expected in almost all departments, but deviations from this forecast could threaten bean plantations in their advanced growing phase.
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