How Families in Guatemala's Dry Cooridor are Coping with Food Crisis
This post is based on the Rapid Food Security Assessment in San Bartolomé Jocotenango, Quiché, Guatemala, written by Amilcar Mirón and his team.
Rural families in Guatemala are facing severe food shortages this season, mainly due to the high cost of meeting their basic needs, the effects of international conflicts, COVID-19 prevention measures, low hiring of temporary labor, the slow recovery of the impact of storms Eta and Iota and the rainy season of 2022, which has started with rains above normal, causing water saturation in the soil, affecting subsistence agriculture. This is worst for families who live in the dry corridor.
In this context, the Municipal Coordinator for the Disaster Reduction — COMRED — and the Municipal Directorate of Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management — IMGIRD — of the municipality of San Bartolomé Jocotenango, department of Quiché, with the technical support of CARE Guatemala and TECHO, surveyed 163 households in 33 rural communities to know the availability and access to food, the economic situation, gender roles and strategies of survival that families are implementing. This report shares the results of the analysis of the data collected in July 2022.
The Food Situation is Dire
- 42% of households do not have any remaining grain from the previous harvest, and an additional 33% only have remaining grain reserves for 3 months or fewer;
- 38% are reducing the size of their meals; 22% of people are eating less (or have stopped eating) to make sure their children can eat;
- 31% are now skipping at least one meal per day; and
- 3.7% have spent entire days without eating.
Coping Mechanisms are Extreme
- 65% of families are implementing 5 negative coping strategies;
- 21% have gone into debt to be able to buy food;
- 2% have sold their land to buy food; and
- In 45% of the households, at least one member has migrated outside the community to find jobs elsewhere.
Gender Inequality is Compounding the Problem
- Women and young girls are doing 94% of the work preparing food, cleaning and taking care of family members; and
- Women earn 56% less than men. On average, men earn $143 per month, and women earn $62.