Drought causes $100 million in crop losses in El Salvador

August 10, 2015
A drought cost nearly $100 million in lost corn and bean harvests in El Salvador in June and July, the government said Monday
A drought cost nearly $100 million in lost corn and bean harvests in El Salvador in June and July, the government said Monday

A drought cost nearly $100 million in lost corn and bean harvests in El Salvador in June and July, the government said Monday in announcing a plan to distribute seeds to hard-hit farmers.

"I can say that 4.7 million quintals (213 million kilograms) of were lost (...) this may be around $100 million in losses," agriculture minister Orestes Ortez told local news Channel 10.

The bean harvest was expected to be short 5.2 million pounds (23.6 million kg) due to the drought.

The losses from the drought over the past two months exceed the $70.1 million in losses from last year's drought.

A study by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock found that 85,656 hectares (211,661 acres) of corn were lost in whole or in part due to the lack of rain this summer.

The drought in Central America's "Dry Corridor" affected 104 of the El Salvador's 262 towns and 102,609 Salvadoran farmers.

To help spur crop production in the second season, between August and November, the ministry distributed 117,400 packets of bean seeds to subsistence farmers. Each farmer received 25 pounds (11 kg) of seeds.

They also distributed 100,000 packages of corn seed for reseeding, giving each small-scale producer 22 pounds (9 kg) each. The farmers also got 100 pounds (45 kg) of fertilizer each.

Corn and beans are staples of most Salvadorans' diets. The government already has to import to avoid market shortages, officials said.

With the El Nino weather phenomenon still in place, large areas of Central American and Caribbean countries are facing major crop losses.

"El Nino" refers to the abnormal warming of surface waters in the tropical sections of the Pacific Ocean every three to five years.

Climatologists began observing the most recent El Nino several months ago, and fear that because of global warming, the phenomenon will hit many areas hard with in Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America.

Explore further: El Nino-spawned dry spell to hit Philippine food production

Related Stories

Drought hits Central America's crops, cattle

August 7, 2014

The last raindrop fell three months ago, forcing Carlos Roman to take his cattle further and further away to find water and keep them alive in Nicaragua's northeastern farmlands.

Best hope for California drought: El Nino pattern next year

May 15, 2015

This week's wet storm isn't expected to provide much, if any, relief from California's historic drought. But there is hope for a serious drenching next year in the form of El Nino, a tropical weather pattern over the Pacific ...

El Niño expected to benefit US agriculture

June 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —A Kansas State University senior agricultural economist says there's a 70 percent chance an El Niño will arrive this fall—and that's good news for the United States.

Recommended for you

Solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

February 22, 2019

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2015
But, hey, it's a natural event, so why should we worry about it.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.