Trinational Border of Rio Lempa: Acute Food Insecurity Situation October 2020 - February 2021 and Projections for March to May 2021 and June to August 2021
Tri-national Border Federation of Río Lempa (Mancomunitad Trinacional Fronteriza Río Lempa) analysis
01.10.2020 > 31.08.2021


& next steps



Between October 2020 and February 2021, which corresponds to the harvest of basic grains and coffee, around 103,000 people (21% of the analysed population) face high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) and require immediate action to reduce food consumption gaps and protect livelihoods. Of these people, 93,000 are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 10,000 in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). For 72% of the analysed households, food consumption gaps are mitigated by humanitarian food assistance and by the use of coping strategies. The population in IPC Phase 3 or above is expected to increase between March and May 2021 to 120,000 people (25% of the analysed population), and again from June to August 2021 to 157,000 people (33% of the analysed poulation).

The worst affected micro-region is Chortí which is classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with between 3% and 6% of households facing Emergency conditions (IPC Phase 4) throughout the three analysis periods. The population of Chortí is composed of indigenous people, day labourers who work in coffee cultivation and farmers of basic subsistence grains; all of whom suffer recurrent food crises. During the second projection period (June to August 2021), the Ocotepeque micro-region is expected to move into a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity situation. The Güija and Cayaguanca micro-regions will likely remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout all the analysis periods, although an increase in the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above is expected in both projections.

Key Drivers


Confinement measures put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been eased in the current period, however, transportation to access markets, workplaces, and basic services remains limited. Border crossings also continue to be limited, which hinders the mobilization of workers and merchants in the region. Furthermore, the local economy has not yet recovered from the effects of the pandemic.

Loss of income:

77% of analysed households have reported reduced incomes, mainly due to the reduction in sources of employment, wages, and low profitability in activities related to informal trade.

International price of coffee:

The low price of coffee in the international market impacts small producers and reduces their incomes. Likewise, the demand for labour for harvesting coffee and the salary for wages are reduced. This situation, together with the difficulties of migration between Guatemala and Honduras, will reduce the income sources for populations in the Ocotepeque micro-region, as well as Chortí (which is typically a supplier of labour for Honduras’ coffee harvest).

Natural disasters:

Heavy rains from hurricanes ETA and IOTA have damaged vegetable crops, basic grains and coffee, as well as roads, production infrastructure, transport and housing. This has had an immediate effect on the availability and access to food in the medium and long term.

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