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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

20 August 2009

Guatemala: Drier than Normal Conditions Lower
Harvest Expectations for Maize and Beans


Since July 2009, overall, cumulative rainfall levels significantly below average have been reported in eastern and southern departments of Guatemala, including El Progreso, Baja Verapaz, Jutiapa, Jalapa, Chiquimula and Zacapa.

These departments are known as the dry corridor of Guatemala and are annually affected by the recurring phenomenon of canícula or veranillo, which is an extremely dry spell that occurs during the rainy season.

This year the dry conditions have been prolonged with particularly severe effects on agricultural production. In these departments, which account for approximately 15 percent of domestic maize production, the main maize crop is about to be harvested and preliminary estimates indicate a lower output due to the loss of thousands of hectares of cultivated land. Significant losses of beans, one of the main components of poor households’ diet, have also been reported.

The Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Alimentación (MAGA) has recently spent more than $7.2 millions to purchase seeds and inputs for the forthcoming maize secondary season and for emergency food rations for immediate distribution, between August 24th and September 11th, to the affected communities, approximately 54,564 families. A Contingency Plan is expected to be activated in the following days. This includes the delivery of family rations for 30 days in municipalities with very high risk of food insecurity.




For additional information on food security situation in Guatemala, please visit: The SESAN website on http://www.sesan.gob.gt/ and refer to their Monitoreo en Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional
The FEWS website on http://www.fews.net/ and refer to the section on Guatemala updates