Haiti - Agriculture : Food Outlook (March-June 2013)
Current situation (March 2013) :
The current situation is characterized by the start of the spring agricultural campaign. However, according to reports published in March by the NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], recent rainfall received in some parts of the country as Artibonite, Northwest, North, and Grande Anse, represent less half of normal accumulation. Therefore, the current conditions of soil moisture are unfavorable to the success of agricultural activities. In addition, the Central Plateau, specifically the municipalities of Thomonde, Cerca-Cavajal, Cerca-la-Source, and Thomassique, experiencing persistent drought since November 2012, according to an assessment mission carried out in early March by FEWS NET and the National Food Security Coordination Unit (CNSA). Of communes of the North-East as Mombin Crochu, the Perches, Ste Suzanne, and Mont-Organisé, among others, are facing a drought situation.
The start of the agricultural season is dependent on the availability of seeds. The high cost of the latter, due to their scarcity is likely to cause a reduction in the surface usually grown in this country, therefore causing a decline in agricultural production. This campaign account for about 60% of national agricultural production. Poor households of numerous rural areas, may continue to face a food deficit immediately after harvest in July.
In rice-growing areas of North, North-East and the Artibonite Valley, agricultural activities generate jobs beneficial to the poor. In some communes of the North such as Ranquite, Bahon, Pignon and La Victoire, also hit by drought, the seasonal migration towards the plain of Limonade and Quartier Morin, remains a major source of income for poor households. However, due to drought, the demand for labor in these communities is declining. In Tiburon, Dame Marie, Anse d'Ainault and other, the fishing season has also started but sales are very low compared to normal, resulting in a loss for the fishing community.
Prices of imported food products are usually high, but remain more or less stable compared to January and February 2013. By cons, the price of some local products, more specifically the black bean and corn ground is rising because of demand. In Hinche, beans experienced an increase of 18% in February compared to January, while the ground corn appreciated by 8% for the same period in Jérémie. In Jacmel, in the south-east, the price of milled maize has increase of 24% during this period. Resulting to a decline in the purchasing power of poor households, whose income tends to decrease due to the low demand for agricultural labor. Dependent of almost 100% of the market as a source of food, poor households in areas affected by the floods in 2012, will have more difficulty to feed until the next harvest in June.
Outlook until June 2013 :
Poor households in the Central Plateau (Cerca-la-Source, Cerca Cavajal, Thomassique and Thomonde) and of North (La Victoire, Bahon, Pignon, and Ranquitte), among others, will depend essentially on the market, and until May and June due to early depletion of their stock due to low agricultural production in 2012.
Due to the scarcity of seeds and their high price on the market, the area sown during the spring campaign will be lower, resulting in a decline in production and income of poor households.
Taking into account of the upward trend of the price curve, the lower incomes of poor households and of the decrease of their livelihoodsn, we can deduce that they will remain in crisis situation (IPC Phase 3). This situation, all things being equal, tends to continue until the beginning of the next harvest, which will be held during the month of June.
The humanitarian assistance provided to households in the Southeast and the Gonâve is likely to pass the food insecurity of the IPC Phase 3 to Phase 2. However, it does not seem to have a significant effect on the municipalities of Thomassique, Thomonde, Cerca-Cavajal, et Cerca-la-Source which will be in crisis until June.
Learn more about the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)
Phase 1 :
Usually adequate and stable food access with moderate to low risk of sliding into Phase 3, 4, or 5.
Phase 2 : Moderately / Borderline Food Insecure
Borderline adequate food access with recurrent high risk (due to probable hazard events and high vulnerability) of sliding into Phase 3, 4, or 5.
Phase 3 : Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis
Highly stressed and critical lack of food access with high and above usual malnutrition and accelerated depletion of livelihood assets that, if continued, will slide the population into Phase 4 or 5 and / or likely result in chronic poverty.
Phase 4 : Humanitarian Emergency
Severe lack of food access with excess mortality, very high and increasing malnutrition, and irreversible livelihood asset stripping.
Phase 5 : Famine / Humanitarian Catastrophe
Extreme social upheaval with complete lack of food access and / or other basic needs where mass starvation, death, and displacement are evident