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Farmers require agricultural support following second year of severe dry weather

Photo credit: FAO

El Salvador is one of the countries in Central America most affected by this year’s El Niño- related dry weather, which caused strong reductions in its maize harvest.

Major crop losses in Central America due to El Niño

Prolonged dry weather associated with the El Niño phenomenon has severely reduced this year’s cereal outputs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, putting a large numbers of farmers in need of agricultural assistance as the subregion tries to recover amidst ongoing dryness, FAO said today.

This is the second consecutive year that the region’s main season cereal harvest has been negatively affected by severe dry weather related to El Niño.

The Central American Agricultural Council — headed by agriculture ministers of the subregion – has declared a state of alert after hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers have suffered the partial or total loss of their crops planted for the main grain season that runs from May to September.

Early estimates from Central America’s main de prima harvest suggest declines of as much as 60 percent of maize and 80 percent of beans due to dry weather caused by El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterized by abnormal warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific ocean.

El Niño-related dry spells are known to delay planting, reduce planting areas and stifle crop development.

Recovering as dry weather continues

With hundreds of thousands of families affected by severe food losses, the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua have begun distributing agricultural aid packages, including seeds, fertilizers and irrigation pumps, to help farmers recover as much as possible in the second planting season, now under way

Three out of the four countries have also begun distributing direct food aid to help families cope with severe food shortages.

Read the full article: FAO

 

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.