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Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Humanitarian assistance to ease Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Beloha District in January 2019

December 2018

December 2018 - January 2019

Map of Projected food security outcomes, December 2018 to January 2019: Most of the country in Minimal (IPC Phase 1), areas of the south are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3!), parts of the soutwest and southeast coast are in Stressed (IPC

February - May 2019

Map of Projected food security outcomes, February to May 2019: Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) in the far south, the rest of the south in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!)

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The first rains favorable for agriculture fell in November across most of Madagascar allowing farmers to start the new cropping season on time.  Below average rainfall was recorded across the western half of the country between October and November 2018 but it will likely not affect staple crop production.

  • The macroeconomic context of the country is currently characterized by a declining exchange rate (- 38 percent in 5-years) and a rising fuel prices (+ 38 percent in 5 years). This increases the cost of transportation of food products from agricultural production areas and ports to consumer locations, where these costs are passed to consumers. Public transportation fees, as well as inter-regional transportation fees, have also increased which affects households’ access to food.

  • Levels of humanitarian assistance are low in the most food insecure parts of the country although the situation is worse than last year. Between 10 and 30 percent of the total population in these areas are currently covered. Humanitarian stakeholders, led by OCHA, have launched a fund-raising campaign for Beloha and Ampanihy for the period of November 2018 to May 2019.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current situation

  •  Ongoing rainy season: The eastern half of Madagascar received normal to above normal rainfall between October 1st to 28th, particularly in livelihood zone MG 23 and in a few scattered localities in the north, east and southern highlands. Conversely, the western half of the country received well below normal rainfall in the same period, particularly in livelihood zones MG 05, MG 09 and M10.
  • Agricultural campaign: Apart from the below normal rainfall recorded in Western part of Madagascar, the SADC Agromet Bulletin also reported a 1 to 2-decade delay of rain in central and middle west Madagascar. The affected areas produce, on average, more than half of maize production in Madagascar, and more than 35 percent of rice national production. Nevertheless, this delay will not likely disturb the current cropping seasons for maize and rice, which is currently in its development stage and cropped areas are near normal. Currently, MG 05 is in an inter-season with no rice crop on the field while MG 10’s first season crops are at fructification stage and will likely be harvested in January/February 2019. In MG10, sowing for the second season has also just started. In MG 20 cassava was planted as usual in October and December.
  • Livestock herd size and health: Poor pasture conditions during the 2017-18 season resulted in: well below normal herd sizes (for cattle, 30 percent of normal among better-off households, 20 percent among poor; for small ruminants, 10-15 percent of normal), below-average conception rates, and 50 percent of normal milk production.

Markets and trade

  • Macroeconomic context: The recent macroeconomic context of the country is characterized by a declining exchange rate and rising fuel prices -  current fuel prices are 10 percent higher than last year at the same period, and 25 to 30 percent higher than they were five years ago in 2013. The Ariary lost 7 percent of its value between September and December 2018, 11 percent compared to last year, and 38 percent in the past five years. Prices of fuel have increased the cost of transportation from food producing areas and ports to consumer locations. Public transportation fees, as well as inter-regional transportation fees, have also increased, adding to the costs passed onto consumers who purchase the food. Overall prices for goods have increased by 38 percent over the last 5 years.
  • Rice imports: According to OdR, 473,151 MT of rice were imported between January and October 2018, which is 16 percent above last year and 71 percent above the 5-year average. Rice imports during the first quarter of 2018 were larger than usual to fill the gap from last year’s below normal production. Rice imports decreased between April and July 2018 during the national rice harvest that was better than last year. Imports increased again from September to October, with a surplus around 60,000 MT. This excess may be a sign of prudence vis-à-vis the current lean season as the production of substitute staple foods was also very low in deficit areas, though it may also be linked to the presidential election during which time some candidates expect to distribute rice to poor households or to sell it at subsidized prices.
  • Prices of staple food: Imported rice prices are above last year’s prices and the five-year average because of the high fuel prices and depreciating exchange rate. Prices of local rice also are above the 5-year average, except in Farafangana and Vondrozo in the southeast where the production is increasing. Compared to last year prices have been stable except in deficit areas of the South where prices increased and in the southeast where prices decreased. In the past month maize prices increased in the southeast and in the south due to poor production resulting from poor rainfall and impacts of Fall Armyworm. Maize prices throughout the rest of the country remained stable. Dried cassava prices stabilized in recent months but are still higher than last year in the South due to lower production, where markets are currently supplied by neighboring regions. Sweet potatoes prices remain stable overall compared to last month, except in the south where prices remain above average due to poor production.   

Other factors

  • Political tension: The presidential elections will be decided during a second-round vote scheduled for December 19th   when two former presidents of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, will face each other. They were both barred from participating in the last election in 2013, as the country was recovering from a political crisis that had involved them since 2009 when Mr. Ravalomanana - the democratically elected president at the time - was deposed by Mr. Rajoelina in a military-backed coup.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: Levels of humanitarian assistance are below normal in the most food insecure parts of the country, despite the results of the October 2018 national IPC indicating Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity in Beloha and Ampanihy.  Approximately 45,000 beneficiaries, about 13 percent of the total population of Ampanihy, are currently receiving assistance from ADRA and WFP. In Beloha, the FIAVOTA safety net program of FID/WORLD BANK/UNICEF is continuing and covers around 8,000 households (32 percent of the population) in 4 communes with lower amount. CRS also targeted 4,000 households until September 2018 with Havelo program phase I. WFP is undertaking activities in two communes of Beloha with lower coverage. Humanitarian stakeholders, led by OCHA, are currently preparing a flash appeal for Beloha and Ampanihy targeting 460,000 beneficiaries (about 54 percent of the population) for food security assistance programming from November 2018 to May 2019.

 

Current Food Security Outcomes

Households in Mahafaly Plain: Cassava, Goats and Cattle (MG 23), including Ampanihy, have depleted food stocks and are highly dependent on markets. With high food prices and few opportunities for income generating activities, food access is difficult for poor and very poor households. Few households hold livestock, but their prices are also very low. Most households are using wild foods to fill consumption gaps. Humanitarian assistance is geographically limited and is covering less than 20 percent of the total population of the district. Therefore, very poor and poor households in the zone are experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity in December 2018.

Androy Semi-Arid Cassava, Maize and Livestock (MG 24) will also facie Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity for this lean season month, except in Beloha where the situation is more severe because households have depleted their food stocks and are highly reliant on markets. Food prices are above-average and income generating activities are few. Few households hold livestock and their prices are low. Wild foods, like cactus leaves, mangos and tamarind, are commonly consumed to fill consumption gaps, and often replace staple foods. Humanitarian assistance is geographically limited and is covering less than 20 percent of the total population of the district. Therefore, very poor and poor households in Beloha are experiencing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity in December 2018.

In the Southeast: coffee, litchis, cassava (MG 19), recent harvests were near normal and prices remain stable, and the majority of households are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1), except in the districts of Farafangana and Vangaindrano, which are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity in December 2018. The same is true in Rice and lima bean - Tulear II (MG20), which is also experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity due to below normal production. For households throughout Madagascar, increasing fuel prices is the main driver that affects household food access, particularly in urban areas. Despite instances of high food prices, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected outside of the areas of concerns in the South and the Southeast.

 

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for the December 2018 to May 2019 period is based on the following national level assumptions:

  • Remaining rainy season: The National Meteorological Department of Madagascar forecasts normal to slightly below normal rainfall along the eastern half of Madagascar and parts of the central-west from December 2018 to February 2019; well below average in the northwest and above average in the southwest and southern central highlands. Elsewhere, rainfall will be average to slightly above average. This National Forecast aligns with the SADC seasonal rainfall forecast released at the Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) in August which predicted that most parts of the region are likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall between October 2018 and March 2019. The NOAA NMME probabilistic forecast does not predict any severe rainfall deficits for the next 3 months although an El Nino event is expected between December 2018 and May 2019. According to the National Meteorological Department of Madagascar, the risk of cyclone hits will likely be below-average in the coming months.  Forecast from NOAA call for a normal cyclone season.
  • Agricultural production and cropped areas: With the improved rainfall conditions, cropped areas will likely increase although they will remain below normal. Particularly in the South, according to Agricultural Meteorology Unit, rainfall during October was generally above normal and favorable to maize, sorghum and cowpea sowing. Farmers started laboring fields and sowing, but seeds stocks were insufficient and inaccessible for poorfarmers due to last season’s poor production. Around 75 percent of normally planted land is expected to be cropped, and sowing will likely continue until January.
  • Main staple production: The first harvest of rice is expected to take place in December and January. Production is likely to be similar to last year, even though cropped area has increased, because some rice and maize fields in the central highlands (Vakinakaratra and Analamanga regions) were damaged by hail in November.
  • Cash crop production: From December to January, Madagascar exports will mainly be composed of litchi. According to the Horticultural Technical Center, the 2018-2019 litchi season will be better than the previous one thanks to favorable rainfall.The green vanilla season in the vanilla producing regions in MG02of Madagascar opened on the 15th of July. Initial output figures point to an estimated volume of 2000 tons available for export in the 2018-2019 season, particularly in Sava and around Ambandia, according to Eurovanille, the largest international trader. A price decrease of around 20 percent is expected during the first trimester of 2019 once the first batches of vanilla become available on the European market.
  • Labor demand and income: Labor demand will increase with the rice planting and maize/pulse sowing and related agricultural labor in main producing areas. Upcoming harvests of cash crops such as litchi will also likely give more labor opportunities. Because of the below-normal cropped area, there will be less demand for labor in the south. 
  • Livestock prices: According to SISAV data, prices of small ruminants have remained stable at MGA 200,000 since May 2018; and are currently higher than last year and the 5-year average. Because of higher decapitalization during the lean season and the depletion of food stocks, prices will likely follow the seasonal trend and decrease until February and then will increase again. Cattle prices are still below last year’s level, except in Beloha where higher decapitalization was noticed due to the more severe food insecurity situation.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: According to the humanitarian plan developed by government and the food security stakeholders led by OCHA, near half of population in Beloha and Ampanihy will likely receive unconditional food or cash distribution in January 2019. Households with labor (around 435,000 individuals) will likely benefit from food or cash for work from February to April 2019 while households without labor force (around 23,020 individuals) will likely benefit from unconditional food and cash distribution from February to April 2019. In Beloha and Betioky, the FIAVOTA safety net program of FID/WORLD BANK/UNICEF will likely continue. CRS will likely increase their caseload of food for work within their Havelo Program Title II to more than 7,000 in the two communes of Beloha and three communes of Tsihombe for 6 months. ADRA will also likely deliver food for work to 16,000 households in Amapanihy and Betioky (around 80,000 individuals) for 3 to 4 months. They will also likely continue supporting livestock breeding and vegetable cropping this year though a FFP program, which allows households to earn additional income.
  • Livestock herd size and health: Herd sizes will continue to reduce until March and then may stabilize. Animal health is currently poor but may improve within the next months with the availability of improved pastureland if rain continues. Transhumance to higher-altitudes areas of the Mahafaly plateau and the districts of Betioky and Bekily are expected during the outlook period.

Most likely Food Security Outcomes

Access to income generating activities in Mahafaly Plain: Cassava, Goats and Cattle (MG 23) will slightly improve with the return of agricultural labor opportunities in January and February. Food prices will continue to increase, and people will likely not easily meet their food needs. The situation will be maintained in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January and February 2018. From March onwards, food availability will improve thanks to maize, pulse and sweet potato harvests that will likely take place in March/April thanks to the promising rainy season. Nevertheless, production is still expected to be below normal as not all fields will be cropped. Prices will start decreasing but remain above normal during this period. During this period humanitarian assistance will begin to arrive and the situation will likely be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity until May 2019.

Androy Semi-Arid Cassava, Maize and Livestock (MG 24) will also face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity for the rest of the lean season month, except in Beloha where the situation is more severe, but humanitarian assistance will relieve the situation. From March onwards, food availability will improve thanks to maize and pulse harvests that will take place in March/April particularly in Tsihombe and Ambovombe, which will likely supply Beloha and surroundings areas with maize and pulses. Nevertheless, the production will likely be below-average. Prices will start decreasing but remain above normal. Therefore, the most of the zone will likely be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity between March and May 2019 except for Beloha that will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) acute food insecurity due to humanitarian assistance.

In the Southeast: coffee, litchis, cassava (MG 19), and in Rice and lima bean - Tulear II (MG20), the situation will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. For households throughout Madagascar, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected outside the areas of concerns in the South and the Southeast.

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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