Price Bulletin for Central America and the Caribbean, November 2021 – Guatemala

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The main staple foods produced and consumed in much 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, mainly eaten 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 main staple foods are rice, black beans and corn.

In Central America there are usually two main growing seasons: Primera (April-September) when maize is mainly produced, and Postrera (August-December) when 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 the humid and mountainous areas of Haiti. The first season runs from March to May and the second from July to October. Beans are also produced in the irrigated and humid mountainous areas of the country during a third autumn season, from December to January.

White corn and beans are commonly traded between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica in Central America. The San Salvador market 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 trade it hosts with regional and international markets. Other major shopping centers include Guatemala City (Guatemala), San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Chontales and Managua (Nicaragua), San José (Costa Rica) and Panama City (Panama). The Dominican Republic is Haiti’s main source of imports for corn, beans and tubers. Haiti is heavily dependent on the United States for rice imports, for about 80 percent of consumption needs.


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