July 31st, 2015 (InsideCostaRica.com) The current ‘El Niño’ weather phenomenon could continue to worsen to produce the worst drought since 1997 along the Pacific coasts of Central America while simultaneously producing excessive rains in the Caribbean, according to experts who convened at the Central America Climate Forum held in Honduras recently.
According to a report prepared by experts in meteorology, hydrology and agriculture, the region and its governments should prepare plans to mitigate the effects and protect the region’s agriculture sector.
Experts warn that current conditions, which have taken a serious toll on Costa Rica’s agriculture sector since May 2014, could continue to worsen until early next year.
The situation will affect subsistence crops such as maize and beans as well as commercial agriculture such as livestock, coffee, and fruit, experts warn.
While producing drought along the Pacific in areas such as Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, the phenomenon could simultaneously produce heavy rains and flooding in the Caribbean province of Limon, impacting the production of banana and other cash crops. Extreme rainfall in the province last month left hundreds of people displaced and forced President Luis Guillermo Solis to declare a state of emergency.
Earlier this month, the Costa Rican government announced it would provide $50 million USD to provide drought relief and improve water infrastructure in Guanacaste, where the impact of the current drought has been particularly hard-felt.