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Poorer households across the Grand South are continuing to experience consumption gaps, or are dependent on humanitarian assistance to mitigate gaps, as the peak of the lean season approaches. Both cash transfers and general food distributions are likely supporting Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in most parts of the Grand South, although areas with lower levels of assistance delivery are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. According to WFP and other humanitarian actors, current levels of assistance are expected to continue through at least April when the 2022/23 harvest begins.
Recent average rainfall across most of the Grand South has significantly improved vegetative health and allowed for the positive development of maize and cereals planted in November. However, rainfall deficits of up to 100 mm below average emerged during January in some parts of the Grand Southwest, likely negatively affecting maize, vegetables, and other crops in these areas. Meanwhile, below-normal seasonal rainfall accumulations in the northern and eastern parts of the country have improved with the passage of tropical storm Cheneso on January 19-23, 2023. According to the BNGRC, 12,665 households were affected by the storm, with more than half of the disaster victims (59%) in Boeny and Analanjirofo. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has reported damages to 17,700 ha of cultivated fields, namely in Menabe, Atsinanana, Sava and Analamanga; however, field assessments are still ongoing.
For the 2022/23 agricultural season in the Grand South, cropped area for most staple crops are expected to be below average, despite positive rainfall forecasts, driven by the high costs of agricultural inputs. Above-average maize seed prices are forcing households to plant less maize and to replace some cropped area with vegetables, whose prices are lower, and which enjoy a shorter cropping cycle. In addition, the use of poor-quality, non-certified seeds will likely limit yields, while the prevalence of pests is expected to result in localized losses.
Despite government interventions, high international energy and food prices are continuing to apply upward pressure on national inflation, which reached 10.8 percent year-on-year in November 2022, and which has been reducing household purchasing power. These price trends are reflected in local markets in the Grand South, where supplies are also limited following consecutive years of poor harvest and localized poor road conditions given the ongoing rainy season, leading to delivery delays and further price spikes in remote, deficit-producing areas. According to WFP, prices of local rice in December 2022 increased by 25, 9, and 13 percent year-on-year in Ampanihy, Amboasary Sud, and Bekily, respectively. During the same period, prices of cassava increased by 23, 44, and 59 percent in Ampanihy, Amboasary Sud, and Bekily, respectively.
This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.