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HomeNewsCaribbean NewsCentral American - Caribbean price bulletin January 2024

Central American – Caribbean price bulletin January 2024

  • The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.

WASHINGTON, USA – The main staple foods produced and consumed throughout most of Central America and the Caribbean are maize, rice, and beans; the latter constituting a key source of protein for poor households. In Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua white maize, mostly consumed in the form of tortillas, and red or black beans are preferred, while in Costa Rica and Panama rice dominates in production and consumption. In Haiti, the primary staples are rice, black beans, and maize.

In Central America, there are typically two main growing seasons: the Primera (April-September) during which maize is primarily produced, and the Postrera (August-December) during which bean production dominates. The Apante season (November-March) is a third growing season during which beans are produced in south-central Nicaragua, northern Guatemala, and northern Honduras. In Haiti, there are several growing seasons. Maize is produced during the Primavera season (April-September). Black beans are produced over two seasons in Haiti’s humid and mountainous areas. The first season spans from March to May and the second from July to October. Beans are also produced in the country’s irrigated and humid mountainous areas during a third, fall season from December to January.

White maize and beans are commonly traded between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in Central America. The market in San Salvador in El Salvador is considered the most important regional market for these staple foods and is well integrated with the rest of the region; due to the high levels of commercial exchange it hosts both with regional and international markets.

Other important trade hubs include Guatemala City (Guatemala), San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Chontales and Managua (Nicaragua), San Jose (Costa Rica) and Panama City (Panama). The Dominican Republic is Haiti’s main source for imported maize, beans, and tubers. Haiti relies heavily on the United States for rice imports, for about 80 percent of consumption needs.

Central American and Caribbean Price Bulletin – PB_LAC_202401_EN

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) established the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) in 1985 in response to devastating famines in East and West Africa and a critical need for better and earlier warning of potential food security crises.

FEWS NET is a leading global provider of timely, accurate, evidence-based, and transparent early warning information and analysis of current and future acute food insecurity. FEWS NET informs decisions on humanitarian planning and responses in 30 of the world’s most food-insecure countries.

For nearly four decades, FEWS NET and its partners have continued to monitor the increasingly complex factors influencing food insecurity, such as weather and climate, conflict, agricultural production, markets and trade, and nutrition. Considered together within the context of local livelihoods, FEWS NET provides integrated food security analysis that forecasts outcomes six to twelve months in advance.

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