Major crop losses in Central America due to El NiñoStaff writer ▼ | September 15, 2015
Prolonged dry weather associated with the El Niño phenomenon has severely reduced this year’s cereal outputs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Climate Prolonged dry weather
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.
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. ■