|Red Cross food relief for central Mexico|
When we think of famine, we tend to think of Africa. Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan seem to come to mind.
FEWS Net, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, has identified Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and central Nicaragua as countries most at risk of severe food insecurity in 2015. Coffee rust has disrupted incomes for many farm workers even as food prices rise due to sustained drought.
Compounding this situation are above-average and increasing prices of regionally-produced staple foods (maize and beans) in some areas. The countries most affected in this regard are Nicaragua and Honduras, where red bean prices rose by up to 129 percent between January and June 2014. Prices are expected to continue to trend upward through the end of the first harvest, in September, then level off for a brief period, and then increase again until December, primarily as a result of current crop losses and the potential losses to Postrera crops projected for late 2014.
Could famine hit the Americas? That appears to be a possibility although it's hard to imagine that Canada, the U.S. and the major countries of South America would be slow to respond with relief.
Meanwhile, the government of Nicaragua has advised its people how to fend of hunger - eat iguanas.
"Breeding iguanas brings two benefits," said Guillermo Membreno, a land management expert. "Not only does it supply dietary protein, it also offers a commercial use for the animals."
Iguanas, he added, contained 24% protein compared with 18% in chicken.