Guatemala: Acute Food Insecurity Situation December 2019 - March 2020 and Projection for April - July 2020
More than one million people in severe food insecurity
01.12.2019 > 31.07.2020


& next steps



Between December 2019 and March 2020, 850,000 people in the rural areas of Guatemala are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and about 197,000 in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), in total around 1.05 million people, and require urgent action. This total will likely increase to over 1.32 million between April and July 2020. Until March 2020, the departments classified in Phase 3 (Crisis) are Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula and Suchitepéquez. From April to July 2020, the departments of Baja Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Quiché and Retalhuleu are also classified in Phase 3.

The most vulnerable households in the rural areas are mainly subsistence farmers, who are experiencing a Phase 2 (Stress) food insecurity situation, manifested through poor food consumption caused by the decline in their stocks of basic grains. However, this situation may improve at the end of the current period. Household food access will improve due to the onset of the basic grain harvest from the western region, the late harvest from the eastern region, the basic grain harvest from the northern region and the beginning of the demand for labor, particularly for coffee cutting, an important crop in some departments, and whose production remains at average levels, similar to those of 2018.  These two events improve food availability and access in the current period.

Key Drivers

Among the main causal factors contributing to the acute food insecurity of these households are the recent crop losses and the low remuneration received by families engaged in wage labour and/or agricultural labour, which is sufficient to cover the cost of the Basic Food Basket. In the last year, the prices of white corn, mainly for rural families, have remained above the average of the last five years, which has limited access to other services, such as health care, education and housing, among others. This situation has forced families to implement different negative coping strategies that have allowed them to alleviate these adverse conditions. However, in the current period, the demand for labour is starting, which will help families to generate income, making access to food possible to some extent.

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