Special Event

Electronic Dialogue: El Niño, La Niña, and Effects on 2015 Grain Production

Sep 25, 2015 - 01:00 pm to 03:00 pm CST

Event proceedings will be conducted in Spanish.

According to reports from the Climate Prediction Center (PDF 453 KB), there is a greater than 90 percent probability that the current El Niño will continue until the end of the year, and 85 percent probability that it will persist into early next year. In Central America, the phenomenon has caused severe droughts in the dry corridor, which should have received rains since May, seriously impacting agricultural and livestock production in the area and threatening the food security of 2.5 million people.

The most recent report from FEWS NET explains the damages and losses in the first harvest. It is estimated that El Salvador has lost 64 percent of corn area planted and 82 percent of the area in beans. In Honduras, the estimated loss was 94 percent of the area in corn and 97 percent of the area in beans In Guatemala, the estimated losses were between 75 and 100 percent of the first harvest for subsistence farmers in the eastern and western part of the dry corridor.

Authorities in the affected countries have been deploying humanitarian aid to those affected by this climatic catastrophe. For example, on June 5th, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock began delivery of livestock feed to approximately 4,000 livestock producers in the Guanacaste province. Similarly, the government of Honduras has begun implementing the “Food Security Plan of Action for Drought” with an allocation of 100 million lempiras to provide food assistance to 161,403 households.

It is essential that civil society institutions, the private sector, research centers, think tanks, and others be actively involved in the analysis and implementation of measures that promote mitigation to the impacts of shocks and resilience in the face of climatic phenomenon. With this in mind, IFPRI’s Central America and Caribbean Food Security Portal is hosting a virtual dialogue on El Niño and La Niña and the ongoing drought in the dry corridor of Central America, with an emphasis on losses for basic grain crops. The dialogue aims to bring together leading experts in the region to contribute to analysis of the problem and make recommendations.

The September 25 dialogue’s theme is "The phenomena of El Niño and La Niña and its effects on the production of basic grains: Application to the region of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras for2015.”

The online event starts September 25 between the hours of 9:00-11:00 CST (1100 a 1300 EST) with a live discussion between the following panel of experts:

  • MSc. Gilda María Walter, FEWSNET Regional
  • Ing. Pablo Ayala, Meteorology MARN, El Salvador
  • Ing. Elijah Barriere, Director MAG Agricultural Economics, El Salvador
  • Ing. Cesar George, INSIVUMEH Meteorology, Guatemala
  • Ing. Rudy Vasquez, Director Strategic Information Laboratory MAGA, Guatemala
  • Ing. Jorge Diaz, Coordinator Strategic Information, DICORER / MAGA, Guatemala
  • Ing. Francisco Argeñal, Meteorology COPECO Coordinator, Honduras
  • Ing. Vicente Aguilar, Coordinator Climate Change SAGH, Honduras
  • Dr. Mark Brusberg, Chief Meteorologist United States Department of Agriculture
  • Dr. Maximo Torero, Director, Division of Markets, Trade and Institutions IFPRI
  • Moderator: Dra. Summer Allen, Research Coordinator, Division of Markets, Trade and Institutions IFPRI

The online discussion forum will be open to all those invited and who wish to participate. Please share this invitation with colleagues, teachers, researchers or partners interested in this topic.

Dialogue Objective: Find solutions to the impacts of drought on agriculture and food and nutrition security for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Components and questions to guide the dialogue

Component I: Understanding the phenomenon. What are the effects of El Niño and La Niña? How often do they occur?

Component II: Estimations of the damage to the main crops that are important for food security. What are the estimates of damage and forecasts for maize and bean crops in the first and second harvests?

Component III: Solutions. What should be changed in the field? What could be changed at the local (municipality or municipalities), national (country) and regional (northern triangle) levels to solve the problem? What other actions could be taken to resolve the problem?