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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 15-April-2024


  1. Heightened violence continues to affect food security

  2. Planting of 2024 main maize and paddy crops ongoing

  3. Cereal imports forecast at near‑average levels in 2023/24

  4. Despite recent declines, inflation maintained at double digit rates in 2023

Heightened violence continues to affect food security

Food insecurity has been worsening since 2018, reflecting the sustained economic downturn, political turmoil and natural disasters, compounded by surging gang violence. The security situation has dramatically deteriorated in 2024, with serious negative consequences on availability of, and access to, food. Access to essential services, such as health care and education, as well as to markets, is severely restricted, particularly in urban areas. Since November 2023, the food supply to markets in the southern region has been reduced due to roadblocks on the main road that connects the capital, Port‑au‑Prince, with consequent upward pressure on food prices. In addition, imports have been suspended since early March 2024, following the closure of ports and airports, with a further detrimental impact on food availability. Gangs continue to attack infrastructure in the capital, including schools, hospitals, government buildings and electricity stations, curtailing their operations. Humanitarian agencies also face increasing challenges in delivering assistance due to widespread demonstrations, roadblocks and looting of supplies. As of March 2024, there were 362 550 Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, more than double compared to a year before (about 128 000). The majority were displaced to avoid attacks/violence, leaving behind their livelihoods, from the department of Ouest, where Port‑au‑Prince is located. The heightened insecurity also caused abandonment of cropping areas in the Artibonite Department , where 90 percent of the annual rice output is produced. The abandoned areas are estimated at 3 000 hectares, about 5 percent of total national rice sowings, concentrated in the eastern side of the department, where insecurity has intensified in recent years. Farmers opted to cultivate crops in lower lands in western Artibonite, despite they are less equipped with irrigation facilities and more prone to flooding.

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, the number of acutely food insecure people (IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] or above) is estimated at a record high of 5 million (50 percent of the analysed population) for the March to June 2024 period, with a slight increase compared to the same period in 2023. In addition to heightened violence and high prices, the lack of humanitarian assistance contributed to the record level of acute food insecurity. Between August and December 2023, only about 5 percent of the population was able to receive food assistance .

Planting of 2024 main maize and paddy crops ongoing

Planting of the 2024 main season maize and paddy crops is ongoing. Above‑average precipitation amounts forecast in April and May 2024 are likely to replenish soil moisture deficits in some areas in the key cereal producing departments of Artibonite, Ouest and Centre (NDVI map) and provide conducive conditions for crop germination and vegetative development. Weather forecasts point to a continuation of wetter‑than‑average weather conditions in the June to August 2024 period, associated with the La Niña phenomenon. However, if excessive rains materialize at crop maturation stage or harvesting time, they could diminish yields or constrain fieldwork. In addition, above‑average temperatures are forecast throughout the main cropping season, which, combined with above‑average rainfall amounts, are likely to foster pest infestations. Although forecasts for the 2024 hurricane season (from June to November 2024) are not yet available, La Niña phenomenon is generally associated with a high number of hurricanes and thus a close monitoring is required. Planted area with the 2024 main season maize and paddy crops is forecast to remain at a below‑average level, due to high production costs and low availability of inputs, including seeds, as they are typically sourced from the previous cropping season, which was below average.

Cereal imports forecast at nearaverage levels in 2023/24

Cereal imports for the 2023/24 marketing year (July/June), mostly wheat and rice for food consumption, are anticipated at 760 000 tonnes, near the five‑year average. Imports between July 2023 and February 2024 were above their year‑earlier level, due to lower year‑on‑year international prices of rice and wheat.

Food inflation lower yearonyear in January 2024

The annual food inflation rate was estimated at 28 percent in January 2024, down from 49 percent a year before. Inflation has been high at double digit rates in 2023 for the eighth consecutive year, and persistently high food prices have diminished the already weak purchasing power of households, limiting their access to food.

Prices of local black beans have been increasing since September 2023, on account of reduced domestic production. As of January 2024, prices were well above their values a year before. Prices of maize meal have been stable during the last quarter of 2023, but they rose sharply in January 2024 in Jacmel market (Sud‑Est Department) mainly due to reduced supply and were moderately higher year‑on‑year. Roadblocks between the capital and the southern peninsula hindered movement of goods and drove up prices further. Prices of imported rice, vegetable oil and wheat flour were stable in most major markets, reflecting the stable gourde against the United States dollar in recent months.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:
FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS)

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool .

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observation for Crop Monitoring .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) .