Since June, drought has affected several provinces, impacting food availability and prices. Manabi is the most affected province, and has experienced significant crop and livestock losses. In August, ash emissions from Tungurahua volcano affected crops in the central highlands. As a result of these climatic events, the prices of agricultural products have increased affecting the household’s purchasing power. In August, the price of rice reached USD 990 per ton, some 11 per cent higher than in July. Vegetables prices increased from 20 to 50 per cent between July and August. The increase in international wheat prices has had an impact on the local cost of wheat flour; bakers are negotiating with government to increase the cost of ‘popular’ bread, which is fixed by the government. The dry period in the highlands is expected to last until late December. The rainy season will start in the coastal region in late September and last until March 2013. Possible impacts of the El Niño phenomenon may be felt in coming months, and could lead to crop damage.