Staple grain production affected as water levels fall in principal rivers of region.
San Jose, March 31, 2010 (CAC). According to preliminary data, through December 2009, contained in a report prepared by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), which comprises the Ministers of Agriculture of the region, the agricultural sectors of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama have sustained losses totaling US$70 million, caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
El Niño occurs when the surface waters in the eastern part of the equatorial Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal and stay that way for several months, which creates an abnormal behavior of the ocean that impacts the climate in different parts of the world directly. In Central America, the most recent El Niño took hold in June 2009, resulting in a rainy season characterized by less rain than normal and a hotter and longer dry season.
According to the report "This latest El Nino event was mild and the forecast is that between April and June 2010 the temperature of the surface water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean will return to normal."